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Adultery (section 497)

Adultery is no longer a crime in India though it can be grounds for divorce, the Supreme Court declared on 27 September 2018. Previously any man who had sex with a married woman, without the permission of her husband, had committed a crime.

Offence of adultery treats women as chattel, dents their dignity: CJl Dipak misra


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 the rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery,  in such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.

Adultery isn't just a crime in the eyes of your spouse. In 21 states, cheating in a marriage is against the law, punishable by a fine or even jail time. ... States with anti-cheating laws generally define adultery as a married person having sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse.

The End of section 497

September 27, supreme Court holds section 497 as a unconstitutional strike down the penal provision, says law dented the individuality of women and treated them as a  “chattel of husbands”.

The supreme Court was unequivocal in its observations. “Any system treating a woman with indignity, inequity and inequality or discrimination invites the wrath of the Constitution. Any provision that might have, few decades back, got the stamp of serene approval may have to meet its epitaph with the efflux of time and growing constitutional precepts and progressive perception. A woman cannot be asked to think as a man or as how the society desires.

It’s time to say that a husband is not the master of his wife,” India’s chief justice, Dipak Misra, said in a written judgment. His fellow judge, Rohinton Nariman, declared that “ancient notions of man being perpetrator and women being the victim no longer hold good”.

While reading out the judgment on adultery, chief justice Dipak misra said that while it could be grounds for civil issues, like divorce, “ it can not be a criminal offence”.

The supreme Court judges hearing the case and said the law was arbitrary, archaic and unconstitutional.

“Husband is not the master of wife. Women should be treated with equality along with man”, chief justice Mishra said.

“Perpetuates subordinate status of women, Denies dignity, sexual autonomy, is based on gender stereotype”. Justice DY Chandrachud 

“Ancient motions of man being perpetrator and women being victim no longer hold good”. Judge Rohinton Nariman