- SC held that adultery is not a crime and struck it off from IPC.
- It commands married couples to remain loyal to each other + no longer consider adultery an offence, only a ground for divorce + pros(How married couple deal with adultery is a matter of privacy + section 497 treated married women as a commodity of husband + provision reflects the dominance of men and was not gender neutral(Violate right to Equality)) + cons (destroy the institution of marriage)
- Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) = it did not punish the erring spouses, but instead punished the adultering man, or rather ‘the outsider’, for having extra-marital relations with a woman who he knows to be married. It was only an offence if the husband had not consented to this relation, implicitly suggesting that the wife was the property of her husband. Hence, the husband was considered to be the “victim” of adultery and could file a case.
- The same recourse was, however, not available to the wife. + Section 497, denied women ownership of their sexuality and agency over their own relationships.(denied autonomy) + violation of Right to privacy and dignity
- WHY Adultery SHOULD NOT BE QUALIFIED AS CRIMINIAL OFFENCE = It has a civil remidy:divorce + an adulterous relation is carried out with the consent of the women
- SUPPORT for Adultery = adultery should remain in the Indian Penal Code as it ensures the sanctity of the marriage, and is for public good
- It is a matter of concern that updating old statue like section 377,section 497 has been left on judiciary without any attempt by parliament to done away with regressive laws + This shows the failure of parliament in its legislative responsibility