Adultery is not a crime, rules SC; strikes it off IPC

How couples deal with itis a private matter, says CJISection 497 treats a woman as her husband’s commodity
A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in four separate but concurring opinions on Thursday held that adultery is not a crime and struck it off the Indian Penal Code. Chief Justice Misra, in an opinion for himself and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, observed that Section 497 (adultery) of the Code “commands” married couples to remain loyal to each other.
A matter of choice
Two individuals may part if one cheats, but to attach criminality to infidelity is going too far, the Chief Justice observed. Besides, there is no data to back claims that abolition of adultery as a crime would result in “chaos in sexual morality” or an increase of divorce. How married couples deal with adultery is “absolutely a matter of privacy at its pinnacle”, the Chief Justice wrote. Loss of moral commitment in a marriage creates a dent in the relationship, but it is left to each individual to deal with the problem — some may forgive while others may seek divorce. Punishing each other or the wife’s lover is unlikely to re-kindle commitment, the judgment said. Section 497 treats a married woman as the commodity of her husband, the Bench held. Adultery is not a crime if the cuckolded husband connives or consents to his wife’s extra-marital affair. Section 497 treats a married woman as her husband’s “chattel”. The provision is a reflection of the social dominance of men prevalent 150 years ago, the judgment said.
Source :  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/adultery-is-not-a-crime-rules-sc-strikes-it-off-ipc/article25063714.ece

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