The Supreme Court of India today, September 27, has passed another verdict by decriminalising adultery in India. Adultery is no longer a crime in India though it can be grounds for divorce. The 158-year old law which used to punish men for having an affair but not the woman has been upheld by the Supreme Court on the grounds of equality of gender.
The five-judge bench comprised Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. Pronouncing the judgement for himself and Justice Khanwilkar, CJI Misra said, “Section 497 is arbitrary and offends the dignity of women.” He said, “Husband is not the master of the wife…system can’t treat women unequally. Women can’t be asked to think what a society desires.”
However, he added that mere adultery couldn’t be a criminal offence unless it attracted abetment to suicide (Section 306). Pronouncing his judgement, Justice Nariman said, “Ancient notions of a man being perpetrator and woman being a victim no longer holds good.”
Meanwhile, as the much-awaited verdict on Adultery was announced, few Twitter users have extended their support while others tried to make sense of it all. Many Twitterati was amused by the fact that though adultery is not a crime anymore, Triple Talaq is still a criminal offence. Many also took a dig on how male chauvinist will take the advantage of the law now.
Several others, posted memes and jokes to summarise their opinion on Supre Court’s judgement.
Check out Twitter reactions:
Section 497 of the IPC defines adultery as an offence committed by a man against a married man if the former engages in sexual intercourse with the latter’s wife. Section 497 reads, “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.”
While the law allows the aggrieved husband of the married woman in an adulterous relationship to file a complaint, it does not extend the same right to an aggrieved woman if her husband is found to be in an adulterous relationship.