Adultery in India was a criminal offense. Until now

DCW Chairperson condemns SC ruling on adultery calls it'anti-women decision

The apex court pronounced four sets of concurring judgements to declare penal provision on Adultery and section 198 of CrPC dealing with prosecution of offences against marriage as unconstitutional.

The court's ruling was welcomed by women's rights activists and lawyers who argued that the law treated women as victims and denied them agency.

The Supreme Court will be going to take another decision today on adultery that it should continue to be an offence under the country's 19th-century criminal law or not.

"I don't understand why people approach court about everything".

Section 34 (d) grants the right of a married person to sue his/her spouse on the grounds of adultery, fornication, bigamy, rape or any other unnatural offence. Modi advocated amending the law to make it gender-neutral, while maintaining adultery as a criminal offense. Adultery will, however, be considered valid grounds for divorce. However, the Centre, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in July, in response to Shine's petition, said that Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code was enacted to safeguard the sanctity of marriage and diluting it would be detrimental to matrimonial bond.

The Indian government had opposed the decriminalisation of adultery, stating in court earlier that this would erode "the sanctity of marriage and the fabric of society at large". In addition, it prevented a wife from prosecuting either her husband or woman in which he was engaged in extramarital relations.

In Pakistan, it is punishable by up to 25 years in prison while in Bangladesh - both formerly part of British India - men, but not women, can be jailed for five years. Women have always been respected in our society. Equal rights was a western concept.

A petitioner, an Indian businessman, had challenged the court to strike down the law, describing it as arbitrary and discriminatory against women.

Noting that marriage being treated as a social institution and Parliament making laws protecting women was not the right approach, the court decriminalized adultery. Needless to add, the heteronormative nature of the Section 497 was a gaping loophole willfully exploited by married and unfaithful men to the detriment of their wives. The petitioners want the adultery law to be gender-neutral, which now punishes only the man, and not the woman.

"For a man to be convicted for adultery is very rare because the crime has to be proved conclusively beyond doubt in the court".

Most countries have abolished adultery as a crime.

Couples can not use adultery as a ground for divorce if they lived together as a couple for six months after the infidelity was known about.

The Supreme Court rejected the plea.

"Besides, the emphasis on the element of connivance or consent of the husband tantamounts to subordination of women". Further, if the husband of the woman gives his consent for sexual intercourse with another man, no offence lies.

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