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Free access to drinking water at any hotel- Indian Sarais act, 1867

The Sarais act is an ancient act enacted under the British rule and it provides for regulation of Sarais or buildings used in the Mofussil areas established under British raj for shelter and accommodation of travelers. 

What does Sarai mean in the act?

According to the act, Sarai means where travelers come and take shelter or stay for some period of time or when such buildings are used by travelers for accommodation, that building is known as Sarai. 

Section 7(2) of Indian Sarais Act 1867 is a unique provision that states that the keeper of a Sarai shall be bound at all times as and when required by any Magistrate for accommodation and give them free access to the Sarai and allow them to inspect the same. 

The unique provision that built upon this section is that the “free access” clause above is interpreted for any person to ask and consume water or use the washrooms of such hotels for free at any hotel at any time.

Is it beneficial or should it be repealed? 

There have been various advantages of this act like access to free water in any hotels but this law also has been requested to be repealed for being obsolete as per the 248th Law commission report. Since the hotels are already registered with specific state legislations and the areas aren’t segregated as per Mofussils anymore.

Although, the act hasn’t been repealed till date and it is one of the few lesser known social legislations still in force from the British rule

UN Convention on Illicit Organ Trading – Need of the Hour

Current status:

Illicit organ trafficking at a global level has turned into a lucrative market and unfortunately, this is a lesser discussed form of human trafficking. In 1991, the WHO’s guiding principles on organ transplantation were approved at the 44th World Health Assembly. In 2004, the World Health Assembly issued a resolution for all WHO member states to prohibit transplant tourism.  Further, it called for international cooperation through guidelines for ethical organ procurement based on suitability and safety. It also emphasized the need for cooperation from national oversight committees to ensure implementation. 

However, there is no organized body or all-encompassing piece of legislation or convention that deals with this menace at the international front. It is imperative for both developed and developing countries to formulate a systematized method to curb illicit organ trade.

Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs: 

The UN as of now has no convention in place whereas the European Union in 2015 introduced the above mentioned convention which was the first ever organ trafficking treaty signed by 14 European nations including Britain, Italy, etc. The purpose of the convention is to prevent and combat trafficking in human organs by providing for criminalization of certain acts.  The convention establishes criminal penalties on the non- consensual removal of organs and removal of organs for financial gain from or by the deceased donors. 

Illicit Organ Trade & the Sustainable Development Goals:

Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the introduction of a convention banning illicit trade will further the aim of the 3rd SDG which is to provide good health and well-being of all. It will also address the issue of poverty, a major factor contributing in such illicit trade which is the 1st SDG namely, eradication of poverty. Moreover, banning illicit trade is essential to promote inclusive, sustainable economic growth and decent work for all which is the 8th SDG. 

Combating illicit organ trade is a lengthy  process but an internationally adopted convention is the first step for achieving it.