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Abolishing 497 akin to giving licence for adultery: DCW chief

Apex court had decriminalised adultery by striking down Section 497 of IPC, terming it as unconstitutional, archaic and manifestly arbitrary


IANS New Delhi
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal on Thursday criticised the striking down of British-era adultery law by the Supreme Court, saying that the decision is tantamount to extending "open licence" to cheating among men.
In what was hailed as a landmark judgement by many, the apex court decriminalised adultery by striking down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, terming it as unconstitutional, archaic and manifestly arbitrary, with one judge saying women cannot be treated as "chattel".
"Mere adultery can't be a criminal offence. It is a matter of privacy. Husband is not the master of wife. Women should be treated with equality along with men," Chief Justice Dipak Misra said earlier in the day.
Taking exception to the widely praised verdict, Maliwal said that it undermines the "sanctity of marriage".
"It is tantamount to giving an open licence to commit adultery to all. How can this be right? If this (decriminalisation of adultery) is right then what is the sanctity of marriage? They should ban marriages as well.
"Majority of the women who come to the DCW are those who have been cheated upon by their husbands... Today's judgement will only aggravate the pain of women," Maliwal told reporters after the verdict.
National Commission for Women Chairperson Reha Sharma, however, did not share Maliwal's view on the matter and welcomed the decision as a step towards equality for women.
"We have equal laws ensured in our Constitution. But there were some laws, like this law, which were not touched. Now they are being addressed. I am happy that we have begun thinking on the line of equality a little," Sharma said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sep 27 2018 | 10:32 PM IST

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