What is Sarai ?

Sarai means ” any building used for shelter and accommodation of travellers, and includes, in any case in which only part of a building is used as a sarai, the part so used of such building” According to the act.  This act defines even the Keeper of that sarai as “includes the owner and  any person having  or acting in the care or management there  of.” So in simple words Sarai is where travellers come and take shelter or stay for a limited period of time or when such buildings  are used by travellers for accomodation that building is called Sarai. The definition of Sarai is very wide and due to that the act has included all types of lodging buildings/ houses like Paying Guests, Inns, Hotels and Hotels of recent times.

All you need to know about Sarais act:-

  1. Notice of this Sarais Act will be given to the keeper/ owner of the Sarais
  2. Registration of the Sarais are compulsory
  3. Sarais can’t allow/ receive Lodgers until they don’t register themselves to Magistrate of the district.
  4. Magistrate can refuse to register any Sarai if keeper/owner does not produce a certificate of character.
  5. Keeper has to give reports time to time if asked/ required by magistrate
  6. Magistrate has power to shut up, secure, clear and clean deserted Sarai.
  7. Sarais can be taken down or repaired if found in a ruinous State by magistrate.
  8. Once Sarai is taken down magistrate has power to sale the materials of ruinous Sarai
  9. There is provision of penalty in case filthy or overgrown condition of Sarai.
  10. State government has power to take regulations from time to time for the better attainment of this act.
  11. In case of infringing this Sarai act or regulations there is provision of penalty.

An interesting and useful fact of this act:-

Most common and known fact is that you can use the restroom and drink water of any Sarai/ hotel whether you are lodging in that hotel or not and that facility will be free of cost. If staff, manager or any other member of that hotel deny to avail these facilities you can file a complain and legal actions will be taken against them and they will be penalties for breaking the law for sure. This act came in force almost 150 years ago in India under INDIAN SARAIS ACT, 1867 and its still in force.