The year 2016 is almost ending and we have seen huge changes after the election of Mr. Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. However, there are many things which require our attention and dedication. A study shows that roughly 72% of the total Indian population are not aware of their rights and duties as a citizen.
One of the rights which we are not aware is that it is not illegal for unmarried couples to share a room in hotels. There is no law in India which prohibits unmarried couples from sharing a room in hotels, yet the hotel authorities refuse to give them any accommodation. Now we need to know is do hotels have the legal authority to deny accommodation to unmarried couples?
The Hotel Association of India, which controls and manages 280 hotels and resorts across the country, says there is no such law which restricts or denies lodging to an unmarried couple in hotels in India.
Sudha Ramalingam, senior advocate, says, “There is no law that prohibits unmarried couples from staying together in hotels. Choosing to stay together is a personal choice and falls under freedom of movement, which cannot be restricted.”
Even in the absence of any official guidelines, the hotel authorities refuse to provide rooms to unmarried couples. The reason behind such refusal will shock you. The hotel staff reserve the right to deny accommodation to unmarried couples because of moral policing. They do not allow unmarried couples to stay in their hotels in order to save their image from being degraded and police harassment.
I believe one of the reasons behind such denial is the attitude of police. It’s true some people indulge in illegal activities like prostitution in hotels where police conduct raids. But not all unmarried couples who wish to enjoy some privacy are engaging in prostitution. It is because of such police conduct that most of the hotels deny unmarried couples any admission for staying because police harass them and try to extort money from them.
It is considered a taboo in India when a man and a woman, both unmarried, share the same room. Mr. K Ramamurthy, Secretary, of the Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association (BBHA) says, “A man and a woman, who are unmarried, staying together in a hotel room are also not considered a part of our custom. For what purpose does a man and a woman, both unmarried, want to live in a hotel room?”
I have seen hotel staff asking unmarried couples to sign in as Mr. and Mrs. in their registers to avoid police harassment. However, new startups like StayUncle and Oyo Rooms have come to the rescue of these young unmarried couples who seek privacy. These startups have tied up with hotels and resorts across the country where unmarried couples can rent a room without any harassment from the hotel authorities and police.
This is a small step to change the mentality of the society fearing people. We hope this change helps in altering the mindset of people about unmarried couples.