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  • Adultery can be civil wrong and ground for divorce but it cannot be criminal offence: Supreme Court

    Published on September 27, 2018

    The Supreme Court today struck down penal provision making adultery a criminal Offence. The court’s five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra declared the section 497 of the IPC as unconstitutional and arbitrary.

    The Apex court said that Adultery can be a civil wrong and a ground for divorce but it cannot be a criminal offence.Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code says that “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.”

    Justice Indu Malhotra said Section 497 is clear violation of fundamental rights granted in Constitution.Justice Chandrachud said Section 497 offends sexual freedom of women.He said Autonomy is intrinsic in dignified human existence and Section 497 denudes women from making choices.He added that Section 497 destroys and deprives women of dignity.

    The court said Section 497 is violative of right to equality and right to equal opportunity to women.The 5 judge bench unanimously held Section 497 unconstitutional saying adultery is manifestly arbitrary .

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