Adultery No Longer a Crime Says Supreme Court But still a ground for divorce


INDIA’s Supreme Court has ruled that adultery is not a crime and section 497 of the Indian Penal Code is unconstitutional.

A unanimous judgement of the 5-judge constitutional bench struck down the 158-year-old law which criminalised adultery with Justice DY Chandrachud in his verdict saying that the section perpetuates subordinate status of women, denies dignity, their sexual autonomy and is based on gender stereotypes.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra also said that there can be no shadow of doubt adultery can be a ground for divorce.

The judgement said that Section 497 treats women as properties of their husbands and violates gender equality.

The government had argued that the law protected the sanctity of the institution of marriage so necessary.

Under Section 497, adultery was an offense only for a man who has a sexual relationship with someone’s wife and without the consent of her husband and it was considered an offense with a jail term of up to five years.

The court said the onus of keeping the sanctity of marriage intact was the responsibility of both the husband and the wife.

#AdulteryLaw: WHAT THEY SAID

The Verdict

The Lawyer for the Petitioner

Rekha Sharma, Chief of National Commission for Women





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