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'Women Can't be Treated as Chattel': Key Quotes from Supreme Court Verdict on Adultery

The Supreme Court's five-judge Constitution bench was unanimous in striking down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code dealing with the offence of adultery and holding it as manifestly arbitrary.

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Updated:September 27, 2018, 4:19 PM IST
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'Women Can't be Treated as Chattel': Key Quotes from Supreme Court Verdict on Adultery
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail.
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The Supreme Court has declared that adultery is not a crime and struck down the anti-adultery law, saying it was unconstitutional as it dented the individuality of women and treated them as "chattel of husbands". The apex court's five-judge Constitution bench was unanimous in striking down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code dealing with the offence of adultery and holding it as manifestly arbitrary, archaic law which is violative of the rights to equality and equal opportunity to women.

Adultery was punishable by a maximum five years in jail or fine or both.

Here are the top quotes from the judgment:


— Section 497 destroys and deprives women of dignity and is destructive of women's dignity, self-respect as it treats women as "chattel of husbands".

— Section 497 treats women as properties of their husbands and is hence manifestly discriminatory. It trashed the central government's defence of Section 4907 that it protects sanctity of marriages.

— It's time to say husband is not the master of woman. Any provision treating women with inequality is not constitutional.

— Each partner to a marriage is equally responsible to keep the sanctity of marriage intact.

— Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code is clear violation of fundamental rights granted in Constitution and there is no justification for continuation of the provision.

— Autonomy is intrinsic in dignified human existence and Section 497 denudes women from making choices

— Adultery dents the individuality of women and it is not a crime in countries like China, Japan and Australia. Adultery might not be cause of unhappy marriage, it could be result of an unhappy marriage.
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