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India Adultery should remain a crime for sanctity of marriage: Centre tells Supreme Court

18:50  11 july  2018
18:50  11 july  2018 Source:   indianexpress.com

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“ Adultery should remain an offence. Diluting adultery law will impact the sanctity of marriages . Making adultery legal will hurt marriage bonds,” the government said in its affidavit. Adultery should remain a crime for sanctity of marriage : Centre tells Supreme Court .

The question whether a woman and a man in an adulterous relationship can be treated as partners in crime spurred the Supreme Court on Friday to reexamine the validity of the IPC’s Section 497 which, for the last 158 years, has absolved married women from being charged with adultery .

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The Centre on Wednesday contended that adultery should remain an offence and opposed a petition before the Supreme Court that sought to make men and women equally liable under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code. A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is re-examining the constitutionality of Section 497 of IPC that incorporates provisions for the adultery law.

The bench will also adjudicate whether the exemption granted to women from being punished for adultery required to be changed. “Adultery should remain an offence. Diluting adultery law will impact the sanctity of marriages. Making adultery legal will hurt marriage bonds,” the Centre said in its affidavit before the apex court.

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New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday told Supreme Court that adultery should remain a punishable offence in order to protect the virtue of marriage . Adultery under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was enacted to safeguard the sanctity of marriage and diluting it would be detrimental to

Should adultery be a crime ? Share On. JUST IN. Even if the Supreme Court were to decriminalise adultery , it would still remain intact in various personal laws It isn’t surprising that apologists often quote the argument of the sanctity of marriage to support the criminalisation of adultery .

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The Centre said Section 497 was enacted so as to safeguard the sanctity of marriage. The court is hearing a petition filed by non-resident Keralite Joseph Shine, filed through advocate Suvidutt Sundaram, challenging the constitutionality of Section 497 IPC read with Section 198(2) of the CrPC, which deals with prosecution for offences against marriages. READ | Explained: Adultery law and discrimination The petitioner has said Section 497 IPC was unconstitutional as it discriminated against men and violated Article 14, 15 and 21.

“When the sexual intercourse takes place with the consent of both the parties, there is no good reason for excluding one party from the liability,” the PIL contended. Adultery is not considered a criminal offence towards women in India and has been in limelight for being discriminatory towards men.

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Even if the Supreme Court were to decriminalise adultery , it would still remain intact in various personal laws, eventually leading to harrowing inconsistencies. It isn’t surprising that apologists often quote the argument of the sanctity of marriage to support the criminalisation of adultery .

Guo Jianmei, director of the center for women's studies at Beijing University, told a Newsday correspondent In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled in Loving v. Virginia that Adultery is considered in many jurisdictions to be a crime and grounds for divorce.

On January 5, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, referred the PIL to a Constitutional bench. The bench had contended the provision seemed “quite archaic, especially when there is societal progress”. In three earlier judgments in 1954, 1985 and in 1988, the court had upheld the provision.

Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code states that “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”.

The offence of adultery entails punishment of up to five years or with fine or with both. However, in such cases, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor. However, it must be mentioned that only sexual intercourse with a married woman would amount to adultery. Sexual relations with a widow, sex worker or an unmarried woman does not attract this section. This has been confirmed by the Delhi High Court in the case of Brij Lal Bishnoi v/s State (1996).

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