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Chandrachud vs Chandrachud: Son Overrules Father’s Judgment, Yet Again

Justice Chandrachud, writing his separate opinion in the Constitution bench, held that Section 497 is based on gender bias and stereotypes and treats woman as an unequal partner in a marriage.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:September 27, 2018, 1:18 PM IST
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Chandrachud vs Chandrachud: Son Overrules Father’s Judgment, Yet Again
File image of Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud. (Photo: allahabadhighcourt)
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New Delhi: Thirty three years ago, his father ruled that the society's interest required that at least a limited class of adulterous relationship is punishable by law.

On Thursday, Justice DY Chandrachud overruled his father, Justice YV Chandrachud, yet again, to declare adultery unconstitutional.

Justice Chandrachud, writing his separate opinion in the Constitution bench, held that Section 497 is based on gender bias and stereotypes and treats woman as an unequal partner in a marriage.

The son went on to say that sexual autonomy of a woman isn't pledged to her husband after a marriage and that a law based on such a patriarchal approach can't be sustained.

Justice Chandrachud's father had in 1985 upheld the constitutional validity of Section 497 in the IPC.

In Sowmithri Vishnu vs Union Of India & Anr, then CJI YV Chandrachud had affirmed validity of Section 497, saying its removal from the statute book can result in adulterous relations having a more free play than now.

"It is better, from the point of view of the interests of the society, that at least a limited class of adulterous relationship is punishable by law. Stability of marriages is not an ideal to be scorned," he had held.

Interestingly, this is another instance when the son has overruled his father.

Writing the main judgement in the right to privacy case, Justice Chandrachud set aside the opinion of his father, Justice YV Chandrachud, in the controversial ADM Jabalpur case.

The senior Chandrachud was among four out of five judges who in 1976 upheld a presidential order to impose Emergency in the country. The Congress was in power then.

But the son held: “The judgments rendered by all the four judges constituting the majority in ADM Jabalpur are seriously flawed. Life and personal liberty are inalienable to human existence. They constitute rights under natural law."
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