Adultery a crime without consent of women: CJI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved the verdict on Sec 497 (Adultery) of the Indian Penal Code while observing that infidelity is the cause of breaking up of royal marriages.

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the top court headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, after hearing the arguments of the Centre, stated, “The idea of imposition of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code is not to enforce monogamy but to ensure to protect fidelity in the marriage, which is a promise made by both the parties while entering to a marriage.”

Additional Solicitor General, Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre said marriage instills a sense of sanctity between two individuals and also in the society, to which the CJI observed that adultery is an offence if done without the consent of the woman, if it is gender neutral, it would not be an offence.

The five-judge Constitution Bench is hearing the petition filed by a businessman, Joseph Shine. The bench also comprises Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice D. Y. Chandrachud, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice A. M. Khanwilkar.

Section 497 of the IPC, punishes only the married man who establishes a sexual relationship with a married woman, without the consent of her husband, but not a woman. Further, if the husband of the woman gives his consent for sexual intercourse with another man, the law does not recognise it as an offence.

The petitioner has argued that Section 497 of the IPC should be struck down, claiming that it is unconstitutional, unjust, illegal, arbitrary and violates fundamental rights.

Shine, in his petition, further claimed that the apex court should intervene and pass a direction to strike down Section 198 (2) of the Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC). (ANI)