SC dismisses review petitions on adultery
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Role of Judiciary
- Supreme Court refused to review its 2018 judgment which decriminalised adultery.
- In September 2018, the Supreme Court had scrapped the 19th century law on adultery calling it arbitrary and offensive to a woman’s dignity.
- SC in its 2018 judgment found that Section 497 (adultery) of the Indian Penal Code cannot “command” married couples to remain loyal to each other for the fear of penal punishment.
- Section 497 was also seen to deprive a woman of her dignity, sexual autonomy as the law treated her to be a property of her husband.
- The court also observed that there was no data whatsoever to support claims that abolition of adultery as a crime would result in “chaos in sexual morality” or an increase of divorce.
SC bench said –
- Jail term for adultery does not make sense.
- Adultery does not even qualify as a criminal offence and is a civil wrong.
- Adultery has a civil remedy: divorce.
An adulterous relationship is carried on with the consent of the woman and it doesn’t amount to an offence.
Centre’s stand on Adultery:
Adultery should remain in the Indian Penal Code as it ensures the sanctity of the marriage, and is for public good.
Do you know?
- In many countries adultery has ceased to be a crime – New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, China, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany etc., yet it continues to be a crime in many countries in the Middle East and Africa.
- Section 497 in The Indian Penal Code – 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.