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Is it beneficial or should it be repealed?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been various advantages of this act like access to free water in any hotels but this law also has been requested to be repealed for being obsolete as per the 248th Law commission report.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Although, the act hasn’t been repealed till date and it is one of the few lesser known social legislations still in force from the British rule

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