Business Standard

SC-ADULTERY-HIGHLIGHTS

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Following are the highlights of the Supreme Court Thursday verdict declaring as unconstitutional the penal provision on adultery:

* Adultery is not a crime.
* Colonial-era anti-adultery law, section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, struck down being unconstitutional.
* Law dented the individuality of women and treated them as "chattel" and "property" of husbands.
* 158-year-old section 497 of IPC manifestly arbitrary, archaic and violative of rights to equality and equal opportunity to women.
* Autonomy is intrinsic in dignified human existence and section 497 denudes women of their "sexual autonomy".
* Unequal treatment of women invites the wrath of the Constitution.
* Adultery was a relic of the past.
* Adultery, however, should continue to be treated as civil wrong.
* Adultery can be grounds for dissolution of marriage or divorce.
* Mere adultery cannot be a crime, but if any aggrieved spouse commits suicide because of life partner's adulterous relation, then if evidence is produced, it could be treated as an abetment to suicide.
* Penal provision on Adultery and section 198 of CrPC dealing with prosecution of offences against marriage declared as unconstitutional.
* Any provision treating women with inequality is not constitutional and it's time to say that "husband is not the master of woman".
* There can't be any social licence which destroys a home.
* Adultery dents the individuality of women and it is not a crime in countries like China, Japan and Australia.
* Section 497 is clear violation of fundamental rights granted in the Constitution and there is no justification for continuation of the provision.
* Section 497 destroys and deprives women of dignity and is destructive of women's dignity, self-respect as it treats women as "chattel of husbands".
* Adultery might not be cause of unhappy marriage, it could be result of an unhappy marriage.
* The Constitution is that it includes "the I, me and you".
* Equality is the governing parameter of the Constitution and section 497 of the IPC is manifestly arbitrary the way it deals with women.
* Autonomy is intrinsic in dignified human existence and Section 497 denudes women from making choices.
* Legislature imposed a condition on sexuality of women by making adultery as offence and section 497 was denial of substance of equality.

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First Published: Sep 27 2018 | 7:26 PM IST

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