In a significant step towards promoting tourism in the state, the Rajasthan state legislature passed an amendment bill that has categorized misbehavior with tourists as a recognizable open issue. The assembly has amended the Rajasthan Tourism Trade (Facilitation and Regulation) Act 2010 to make misconduct with tourists a known issue. The same amendment has also made the repeat offense of misconduct a non-bail offense, the Indian Express reported. By making misconduct with tourists a recognizable crime, police officers will be empowered to arrest people accused of such crimes without an arrest warrant. By making such crimes unavailable, people who have committed such crimes will not be able to get out of trouble easily and will have to go to court to secure their bail, in contrast to bail crimes where police officers can provide bail to a defendant. .
Why were the changes necessary?
The 2010 law change will classify crimes such as promoting, begging, and selling items in and around the state’s tourist attractions. While the offenses have become recognizable, if a person is found to repeatedly commit the same offense, then the offense would be classified under the category of offense not available. Rajasthan is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country and welcomes millions of national and international tourists every year. The changes were reportedly carried out to address the threat of ‘touts’ who, forcefully or annoyingly, confront foreign tourists and force them to buy things at an exorbitant price. People who earn commissions by forcibly directing tourists to certain establishments will also be covered by the definition of crime. While state police officials take action against resellers, they are easily left paying a fine, as such crimes were readily available and unrecognizable before.
Background of the 2010 law
In January 2017, the Rajasthan High Court struck down the FIR against two individuals accused of misbehaving to tourists, noting that in the Rajasthan Tourism Trade (Facilitation and Regulation) Act 2010, the offenses were not clearly classified as recognizable . The state’s tourism minister, Govind Singh Dotasra, told the assembly that the 2010 law did not specify whether the crimes were recognizable, unrecognizable or not liable to bail. The minister explained that following the order of the Rajasthan High Court, the police officers had stopped registering FIRs against these offenders and a change in the law was necessary to make the crimes recognizable and no bail for repeat offenders.