New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine the Central government’s plea urging to exempt the Armed forces from the purview of its 2018 judgment of decriminalizing adultery. Issuing notice, the bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman observed that since clarification is sought of a constitution bench judgment, it is appropriate that the matter be placed before the CJI who may issue orders to post it before a five-judge bench, LiveLaw reported. Also Read - Deadlock Continues as Centre-farmers Talks Remain Inconclusive, Next Meet on Jan 19
In a historic judgement delivered in 2018, the Supreme Court had decriminalised adultery by striking down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), terming it unconstitutional. The court had also observed that mere adultery cannot be a crime unless it attracts the scope of IPC’s Section 306 (Abetment of suicide). However, the court added that adultery can be a ground for divorce. Also Read - Breaking News January 15 Updates
The judgement passed by a five-judge bench comprising then Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra observed that the law on adultery is archaic, has long outlived its purpose, does not square with today’s Constitutional morality. Having lost its rationale long ago it in today’s age is `utterly irrational’. Also Read - Farmers Protest: BKU Leader Recuses From SC Panel, 9th Round of Talks With Centre Today | Key Points
The judgement was welcomed by all sections of society but did not go down well with the armed forces. The Army wanted the acts of homosexuality and adultery to be kept punishable and also approached the Defence Ministry for it, a year after the Supreme Court decriminalised them.
Cases of homosexuality and adultery are still considered taboo in the Army. In its parlance, it prosecutes officers for adultery on charges of “stealing affection of a brother’s wife”.
The Centre, in its plea, has requested that the verdict should not be applied to Armed Forces and adultery should be continued to be seen as a crime.