‘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.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

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.


Share This Post and Support:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Most read articles recently

Image Source: The Week

Mandya: Actor-turned-politician Prakash Raj attends funeral of Pulwama martyr, villagers expose his hypocrisy towards Armed Forces

Prakash Raj, a left wing ideologue, who is often known for joining hands with the left-liberals to express their hate towards Hindus and the BJP, has plans to contest in the upcoming elections from Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency.

Pakistan quotes The Quint, Karan Thapar and Praveen Swami to brand Kulbhushan Jadhav as a ‘RAW spy’ at ICJ

Pakistan quoted several articles published in Indian to present its case during Kulbhushan Jadhav hearing at the International Court of Justice
Locals even pelted stones at injured jawans

Pulwama attack: Women, children in Kashmir ferried expensive military grade RDX in small quantities for months

The trigger for the explosive was manufactured locally and that ammonium nitrate was used as an oxidizer in the RDX explosive. The military grade RDX was obtained from Pakistan and the device was assembled around 10 km from the blast site.
How Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua misled people about ‘martyr status’ to CRPF jawans after Pulwama attack

How Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua misled people about ‘martyr status’ to CRPF jawans

Ravish Kumar of NDTV is a man known for many lows. But this may well be his lowest point.
Amar Singh donates property worth Rs 15 crore to RSS-affiliated Seva Bharti.

Amar Singh donates ancestral properties worth 15 crores to RSS-affiliated organisation Seva Bharti

Amar Singh donated Rs 15 crore property to Seva Bharti, an RSS affiliated social service organisation.

Pakistanis get scared about attack by India after seeing their own Air Force fighter jets flying over civilian areas

Several people posted on social media that India has dropped bombs over Sialkot in Pakistan

Waters of 3 rivers flowing into Pakistan will be diverted to Yamuna as per Indus Water Treaty: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari had said that dams and other developmental projects are being conceptualised on the 3 rivers will choke Pakistan’s water supply

Congress workers used to do booth capturing for me and my father when there was no EVM : Congress leader Kirti Azad

Kirti Azad was suspended from the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2015 after he accused senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley of Corruption.
Article 370

Article 370 must go: BJP can’t pussyfoot any longer

So what is this Article 370 which allows J&K to function much against the national (or for that matter, it’s own) interests?

The Hindu not only cropped the Rafale dissent note, but also had digitally manipulated it

Comparison of Hindu document with ANI document shows that Hindu had doctored the Rafale dissent note

Latest articles

Connect with us

138,214FansLike
111,133FollowersFollow
23,418SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these