NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code calling it unconstitutional. With adultery no longer being a crime, Supreme Court said that Section 497 is an archaic law, manifestly arbitrary.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday said that mere adultery can't be a crime unless it attracts abetment to suicide. Speaking strongly against Section 497 which defines Adultery in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the CJI said that adultery can be a ground for civil issues including dissolution of marriage but it cannot be a criminal offence.
Here is what is Section 497 of the IPC -
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, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.
"Legal subordination of one sex by another is wrong. Social progression of women and views of Justice Nariman in Triple Talaq case has been considered. Adultery can be grounds for dissolution of marriage," the CJI said while reading out the verdict on behalf of himself and Justice AM Khanwilkar.