Ministry of Defence (MoD) seeks to exempt armed forces personnel from the ambit of decriminalization of adultery
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Defence and Security
- The Supreme Court recently admitted a petition filed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
- MoD has sought to exempt armed forces personnel from the ambit of a Constitution Bench judgment of 2018 that decriminalised adultery.
- A three-judge Bench led by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said the plea had to be considered by a Constitution Bench because the original verdict, striking down Section 497 (adultery) of the IPC, was pronounced by a five-judge Bench in September 2018.
- The court referred the case to the Chief Justice to pass appropriate orders to form a five-judge Bench to clarify the impact of the 2018 judgment on the armed forces.
Reason given by the government for seeking exemption:
- There will always be a concern in the minds of the Army personnel who are operating far away from their families under challenging conditions about the family indulging in untoward activity.
- Personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were a “distinct class”.
- They were governed by special legislation, the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act.
- Adultery amounted to an unbecoming conduct and a violation of discipline under the three Acts.
- The three laws were protected by Article 33 of the Constitution, which allowed the government to modify the fundamental rights of the armed forces personnel.