Monday, October 26, 2020
Home Law 'Adultery valid ground for divorce, not criminal prosecution': SC strikes down the arbitrary Sec...

‘Adultery valid ground for divorce, not criminal prosecution’: SC strikes down the arbitrary Sec 497

In a landmark judgement, a five-judge bench of Supreme Court of India has declared section 497 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional, calling it “manifestly arbitrary”.

The section reads as follows:

Adultery.—Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.

Section 497 is widely considered a lopsided law, as it is gender biased. Under this law, on one hand, only married men can be prosecuted for adultery, not a married woman. On the other hand, this section applies only if a man has sex with a married woman without the consent of that woman’s husband. This implies that the husband has ownership over his woman who can permit her to have a physical relationship with another man.

The SC judgement says that Section 497 IPC affects the right to life of a woman under Article 21 of the constitution of India. Court has noted that adultery can be ground for divorce but it can’t be a criminal offence. Delivering the verdict, the court said that Adultery dents the individuality of women, and husband is not the master of his wife. Court also noted that adultery is not a criminal offence in many countries, and many countries have abolished laws which made it a crime.

Reading out the judgment, Chief Justice Misra said, “Any provision of law affecting individual dignity and equality of women invites the wrath of not constitution. It’s time to say that the husband is not the master of the wife. Legal sovereignty of one sex over other sex is wrong”.

The court noted that the adultery law applies only if a man has relation outside marriage with another married woman, it does not apply if the relationship with an unmarried woman. The court asked why the sanctity of a marriage is not affected if an unmarried is involved, calling it arbitrary.

The judgement says that adultery is a matter of privacy and it is not a criminal offence. Court has said that section 497 of IPC violates Articles 14 and 15 of the constitution and therefore this law is unconstitutional. According to the court, section 497 deprives a woman of agency and autonomy and dignity, and the law is actually a codified rule of patriarchy, which denied married women autonomy.

Along with Section 497, the apex court has also struck down the section 198(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which dealt with adultery.

Court has clarified that adultery will be a valid ground for divorce. And if an aggrieved spouse commits suicide as a result of adultery, the adulterous partner will be prosecuted for abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad claims convoy fired upon in UP, fails to mention scuffle was with AIMIM: Read details

Members of Chandrashekhar Azad's Bhim army and Azad Samaj Party were in a scuffle with AIMIM members, both claiming that their life was threatened

After Turkey President Erdogan says Macron ‘needs treatment’ over attitude to Muslims, Pakistanis trend #boycottfranceproducts on Twitter

Pakistani bots putting their weight behind Turkey president Erdogan's call of 'giving treatment' to French President Macron.

India Today releases a squint eyed statement, pats itself in the back for paying Rs 5 L to the court in TRP manipulation case,...

India Today has released a statement on the current TRP scam and it makes no sense.

“Allah will burn this woman in Hell”, Islamists attack TMC leader Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Puja

"You are the descendant of Satan -Evil. Don't you feel any shame for doing such dirty things?" an extremist commented on Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Pujo.

Times Now asked to air apology to Rahul Gandhi fangirl Sanjukta Basu for calling her ‘Hindu hater’, “We won”, she tweets

The directive to Times Now comes 19 months after Basu had filed a complaint with the NBSA.

Recently Popular

‘He supplies drugs and girls’: Estranged wife of Mahesh Bhatt’s nephew Luviena Lodh alleges harassment by nephew-uncle duo

Luviena Lodh said that Mahesh Bhatt is the don of the industry, and he controls everything that goes on in the film industry

Maharashtra Police arrests Twitter user Sameet Thakkar over ‘Baby Penguin’ remark against Aaditya Thackeray

Twitter user Sameet Thakkar from Nagpur has been arrested for posting derogatory tweets against the Thackerays.

“Allah will burn this woman in Hell”, Islamists attack TMC leader Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Puja

"You are the descendant of Satan -Evil. Don't you feel any shame for doing such dirty things?" an extremist commented on Nusrat Jahan for participating in Durga Pujo.

France: Charlie Hebdo cartoons projected on government building to express solidarity with deceased teacher who was beheaded by Islamic terrorist

Days after the barbaric beheading of teacher Samuel Paty on the streets of Paris by a terrorist for showing the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students, support continues to pour in for the deceased teacher.

Kerala: Photographer Dia John depicts Hindu deity as smoking weed, deletes picture after outrage

Kochi-based Mukkootil Bhagavathy temple had filed a complaint against Dia John for hurting Hindu religious sentiments
- Advertisement -

Days after justifying Paris beheading, Imran Khan writes to Facebook seeking ban on ‘Islamophobic content’, whines against India

Pakistan's PM wrote to Facebook's CEO seeking ban on 'Islamophobic content' on Facebook.

Uddhav Thackeray addresses Dusshera Mela by throwing Hinduphobic ‘Gaumutra’ jibes at former ally BJP

The 'Gaumutra jibe' is often used by left-liberals and radical Islamists to demean Hindus, who disagree with their narrative.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad claims convoy fired upon in UP, fails to mention scuffle was with AIMIM: Read details

Members of Chandrashekhar Azad's Bhim army and Azad Samaj Party were in a scuffle with AIMIM members, both claiming that their life was threatened

After Pakistani bots, Pakistani Prime Minister now attacks French President Emmanuel Macron for calling out radical Islam

Pakistan PM Imran Khan said that Muslims react violently to alleged blasphemy because he Prophet lives in their hearts

Kerala: Photographer Dia John depicts Hindu deity as smoking weed, deletes picture after outrage

Kochi-based Mukkootil Bhagavathy temple had filed a complaint against Dia John for hurting Hindu religious sentiments

Twitter user dares India Today to block him for calling it ‘sold out’, India Today obliges

When a netizen called all news channels ‘sold out’ and dared India Today to block him, the media house went ahead and obliged

FIR registered against activist-lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat for cartoon linking rape with Hindu Goddess worship

The FIR has been registered against Deepika Singh Rajawat under sections 505 (b)(2), 294 and 295 A of the Indian Penal Code

In 2007, Lalu Yadav’s two sons, Tej Pratap and Tejashwi were thrashed by people for eve-teasing in Delhi

In 2007, sons of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, were found eve-teasing women on New Year's eve

Assam: Congress MLA demands ‘Miya Museum’ for immigrant Bangladeshis, govt rejects saying they don’t have separate culture

"No question of a museum there reflecting other culture and civilization", Himanta Biswa Sarma rejecting Miya Museum demand of Congress MLA

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
468,396FollowersFollow
19,200SubscribersSubscribe