Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal today expressed her displeasure at the Supreme Court of India verdict on declaring section 497 of the Indian Penal Code on adultery, unconstitutional and calling it “manifestly arbitrary”. Taking to Twitter, Maliwal said that decriminalising section 497 will give licence to married couples for adulterous relationships.
Totally disagree with SC on adultery. They’ve given license to married couples 4 adulterous relationships. What’s sanctity of marriage then?
Instead of making 497 gender neutral, criminalising it both for women and men they have decriminalised it totally! Anti women decision.
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) September 27, 2018
Calling it ‘anti-women decision’, Maliwal said that instead of making the law gender neutral, it was decriminalised. However, her observation didn’t quite go down well with Twitter users who explained it to her that while section 497 is decriminalised, adultery is still a valid ground for divorce but not for criminal prosecution.
How is this anti-women? It was anti man and still is anti man because while a woman could prosecute and can prosecute her adulterous husband under 498A, DV etc , this was the only law husband had as a recourse against adultery by wife under IPC. Though it punished lover n not her
— Deepika Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) September 27, 2018
Earlier, the law didn’t punish the woman for committing adultery, but instead, the lover could be punished. That way, this step is one more step towards gender neutrality.
A Twitter user even explained to her that the sanctity of marriage she talks about essentially depends on the couple and that it means nothing if one or either of them doesn’t respect and love each other to cheat.
+ No decent country would ‘criminalize’ adultery/cheating. The course correction for adultery cases should be a divorce.
Justice Chandrachud beautifully explained this with an analogy, here:https://t.co/hv4SbwKQ9U
— Bambi (@God_Conundrum) September 27, 2018
— Navneet Mundhra (@navneet_mundhra) September 27, 2018
Upholding sanctity of marriage is the duty of the couple who took the vows. Not the duty of the courts. Government should have no space in your bedroom https://t.co/xs7QwPJDjb
— Vishakha J (@VishakhaJ18) September 27, 2018