Adultery Law Questioned In Supreme Court : Is It Biased Towards Men & Should it Stay?
Image Source-The Daily Beast

Adultery, a 153 year old law for which only the men will be punished and not the women even if they are abettor, is to be examined by the Supreme Court.

The son is all set to challenge what the father did several years ago. 32 years ago, the Chief Justice of India (then), YV¬† Chandrachud passed an ordinance which states that women cannot be charged for the adultery even if she is an equal participant in it. In a contradicting respond to which, his son DY Chandrachud, part of a three-judge bench of Supreme Court decided to probe the provision claiming it to be ‘archaic’.

Section 497 of IPC directs 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 the offence of rape,is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished.”

Section 198(2) of CrPC says that “…. no person other than the husband of the woman shall be deemed to be aggrieved by any offence punishable under Section 497 or Section 498 of the said code : Provided that in the absence of husband, some person who had¬† care of the woman on behalf at the time when such offence was committed may with the leave of the court, make a complaint on his behalf.”¬† ¬†

The adultery offence calls for jail upto five years or fine or both.

The scrutinization has been held taking into account the equal status of men and women in society and no matter what women is equal to men in every sphere be it empowerment or adultery. “A time has come when the society must realise that woman is equal to man in every field. This provision, prima facie, appears to be quite archaic. When the society progresses and the rights are conferred, the new generation of thoughts spring and that is why, we are inclined to issue notice.” the bench said .

The scrutiny will take place to examine two aspects.One is that – why a married woman who has been a fellow partner in the adultery offence should not be punished along with the man who is being punished.Second aspect that needs to be examined is that if a man gives his consent for his wife for the sexual intercourse with another man,will it not turn into commodity.Is she a ‘property’ of her husband or a mindless object?

Another controversy aroused when adultery received plathora of condemnation from men who are protesting against such law claiming it to be biased for women and ignoring the fact that women in such cases are not allowed to speak up for the justice for their partner . Also Justice Chandrachud envisions that the law perceives a very ‘patronising attitude’ towards women positioning her as a ‘victim’ which entails violation of fundamental rights and gender discrimination.


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