Adultery No Longer a Criminal Offence in India, Rules Supreme Court
While quashing Section 497, the Supreme court noted that sanctity of marriage goes out of the window in various situations, including the one where a married man has sexual intercourse with an unmarried woman, but the legislature has criminalised only one instance.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed adultery as a criminal offence in India.
A Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra declared by unanimity Section 497 in the Indian Penal Code as unconstitutional and being violative of gender equality.
The court underlined that Section 497 treats women as properties of their husbands and is hence manifestly discriminatory. It trashed the central government's defence of Section 497 that it protects sanctity of marriages.
The court noted that sanctity of marriage goes out of the window in various situations, including the one where a married man has sexual intercourse with an unmarried woman, but the legislature has criminalised only one instance.
It also emphasised that each partner to a marriage is equally responsible to keep the sanctity of marriage intact. Adultery will henceforth only remain a civil wrong and a ground for divorce.
Section 497 makes adultery an offence only with respect to a man who has a relationship with somebody's wife. The wife is considered neither adulterous nor an abettor in law, while the man faces a jail term of up to five years.
Another peculiar aspect of Section 497 is the fact that the fulcrum of the offence is gone if consent or connivance of the husband can be established. On a petition by Joseph Shine, the Constitution bench is examining the validity of Section 497.
Replying to the plea, the central government has filed its affidavit, saying that the provision punishing adultery "supports, safeguards and protects the institution of marriage".
Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.
Recommended For You
- Maruti Suzuki S-Presso Mini SUV Officially Teased Ahead of September 30 Launch: Watch Video
- OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7 Get OxygenOS 10 Based on Android 10 Update
- Rashami Desai to Marry Boyfriend Arhaan Khan Inside Bigg Boss 13 House: Report
- Your New Apple iPhone 11 Could Cost As Little as Rs 51,700 With Amazon Preorder Offers
- Do Not Worry, Your Mi TV Will Get Netflix And Amazon Prime Video Apps This Year