Rajasthan, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, has passed a legislation making misbehaviour with tourists a cognisable offence.
The state legislative assembly amended the Rajasthan Tourism Trade (Facilitation and Regulation) Act, 2010, with an aim to promote tourism further. The amendment also makes repeat offences of misbehaviour a non-bailable offence.
Now, the police can arrest individuals accused of misbehaving with tourists without the need for an arrest warrant. The offenders will now have to approach the court to get bail as against the earlier situation when they would get bail in police station itself.
As per the amendment, touting, begging and hawking articles in and around tourist places will not be allowed.
While Rajasthan is very popular, tourists, especially foreigners, often complain about ‘touts’ troubling them endlessly to buy stuff. Besides the ‘touts’, individuals who direct tourists towards them, can also be arrested under the amended Act.
The tourism industry in the state has termed the amendment the right decision taken at the right time. “We have been receiving complaints about the ‘lapkas’ (touts) who disguise as guides and mislead the tourists. Earlier there was no harsh punishment. This is a timely amendment that will safeguard the reputation of the state which caters to both domestic and as well as international tourists” Sanjay Kaushik, secretary of Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators, told Outlook.
Another tour operator said the Rajasthan Tourism Trade (Facilitation and Regulation) Act of 2010 was primarily introduced to prevent misbehaviour with tourists. “However, the Act then failed to specify if the provision for punishment was cognisable or not. This amendment makes the provision clear,” he said.
Rajasthan is one of India’s most favoured tourist destinations. It comprises formerly independent kingdoms that developed a rich architectural and cultural heritage; same can be seen today in numerous forts and palaces, which are enriched by features of Muslim and Jain architecture.