This clever Twitter account, 'Nyaaya', teaches you the law by breaking down Bollywood film scenes.

SRK killing Shilpa Shetty in Baazigar Was it murder Explaining law through filmScreenshot/YouTube
news Law Saturday, August 04, 2018 - 14:07

Let’s face it, it’s hard to understand legalese. And even though you may religiously read the news, the sections of law mentioned in stories might just go over your head.

To make things a little bit easier (and interesting), a Twitter account by ‘Nyaaya’, is making Indian law much more accessible and relatable – by applying it in iconic Bollywood film scenes. Nyaaya is an initiative of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy that seeks to assist everyone to understand and deal with everyday legal problems.

Take for instance the 1993 Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol starrer Baazigar, which was also Shilpa Shetty’s debut film. In one scene, Shah Rukh Khan kills Shilpa Shetty by making her fall off of a high rise building. He was avenging his father, who was cheated by Shilpa Shetty’s father.

Nyaaya uses this scene to explain the difference between culpable homicide, and murder, the deciding factor being the certainty of death. After discussing he act, Nyaaya says, "In Baazigar, it is murder, because there is both Mens Rea as well as Actus Reus. Mens Rea means the intention behind the act. Actus Reus is the actual conduct of the act. Both these factors exist here. He knew that throwing her from a height to the concrete would kill her. "

Explaining that the distinction between munrder and culpable homicide is delicate, Nyaaya says, "With a few differences, this could have been culpable homicide. If he pushed her in the spur of the moment, without intending to throw her off, and she fell down, then it may not be murder." 

With the hashtag #LawInFilms, Nyaaya has broken down several scenes from Hindi films to explain what they would mean from the law’s point of view. The iconic song ‘Chaiyaan Chaiyaan’ for instance, would actually be illegal because “Section 156 of the Railways Act makes it very clear that traveling on the roof or any other part of the train that is not intended for passengers is punishable.”

And here, Nyaaya even answered a query about whether the wedding between Nisha (Madhuri Dixit) and her brother-in-law (Salmaan Khan) in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun would be legal, under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Oh, and all the fights you see in public in Indian films, including Bollywood? Illegal, although with a measly fine of up to Rs 100 and up to a month in jail.

Nyaaya even deals with pertinent issues like stalking, which continues to be shown in films as a legitimate means of expressing and pursuing a love interest, teen pregnancy, and abortion.

There’s lots more where that came from. Look up the hashtag #LawInFilms to check out more explanations of law as it would be in films.

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