India has legalised adultery

India has legalised adultery

India has legalised adultery

Until now, the 158-year-old law instigated under British rule made it an offence for a man to have sex with a married woman without her husband's consent. "Any provision treating women with inequality is not constitutional", said the SC.

A man accused of adultery could be sent to a prison for a maximum of five years, made to pay a fine, or both.

According to him, the Supreme Court verdict would make life more miserable for people like him.

The court said it deprived women of dignity and individual choice and "gives license to the husband to use women as a chattel".

"The adultery law is arbitrary and it offends the dignity of a woman", Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who led the five-judge Constitution Bench, said.

Like Chaitanya Gowda, who claimed his wife was having an affair and he had been collecting evidence against her and her lover for the last eight years. "But why a criminal offence?"

From now on, the only remedy available to a man or woman who finds his partner to be in an adulterous relationship would be to go for divorce.

Aug 8: Centre favours the retention of penal law on adultery, says it is a public wrong which causes mental and physical injury to the spouse, children and the family.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in a concurring but separate judgment said society has two sets of morality in sexual behaviour - one for women and another for men.

And although there is no information on actual convictions under the law, Kaleeswaram Raj, a lawyer for the petitioner, said the adultery law was "often misused" by husbands during matrimonial disputes such as divorce, or civil cases relating to wives receiving maintenance.

"Quashing the archaic law, which has been on the statute book for more than 150 years, the court also said in a unanimous verdict, ".if it (adultery) is treated as a crime, there would be huge intrusion into the extreme privacy of the matrimonial sphere. "Adultery can be grounds for dissolution of marriage", ANI quoted the chief justice as saying.

The verdict came on a plea filed by Joseph Shine, an Indian citizen working overseas, who challenged the constitutional validity of Section 497 that penalised only a husband for committing adultery.

The Legislature has imposed a condition on sexuality of women by making adultery as offence, he said.

"A woman can not be asked to think as a man or as how the society desires. However, that does not save the provision as being manifestly arbitrary", it said and added that "the rationale of the provision suffers from the absence of logicality of approach".

The petition seeking the repeal of Section 497 IPC had initially come up before the Supreme Court in December 2017.

Should women be treated as abettors and not victims for the crime of adultery? Supreme Court could at least direct the Government to add adultery as an offence under 498 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

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