Adultery law violates the dignity of woman, says SC

Adultery law violates the dignity of woman, says SC


  1. Recently, the Supreme Court said that adultery law violates the right to equality of woman.

Important facts:

  1. The court made the observation while hearing a case challenging the validity of the penal law, which makes adultery an offence punishable only for men and not the consenting women.
  2. The meaning of ‘Adultery is defined under section 497 of the Indian Penal Code as follows:
  • Section 497 says that a man could be punished up to five years in jail if he has sexual intercourse with other man’s wife.
  • However, it is not an offence if the sexual intercourse is with the “consent or connivance” of the husband of the woman.

3. The Supreme court has made the following observations in this regard:

  • The adultery law violates the dignity of a woman.
  • The Bench said the IPC section treat a married woman as “chattel”(a personal possession) of the conniving husband, which was “absurd”.
  • “When a woman is treated as chattel, her right to dignity is affected.”
  • Decriminalising adultery was not “a licence for people to go indulge in it”.
  • Adultery is a sign of marital breakdown as marriage as an institution has two pillars where both parties have to be equally responsible.
  • However, the judgment is criticizing by many people for being unconstitutional.

4. Most countries have done away with adultery as a criminal offence, including Bhutan, Sri Lanka, China and South Korea.

Print Friendly and PDF