SC ruling on adultery gives ‘open licence’ for illicit relations: DCW chief

New Delhi: Expressing disagreement over the Supreme Court verdict on adultery, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal said on Thursday the decision is tantamount to extending “open licence” to cheating among men.

Striking down the British-era adultery law, the Supreme Court decriminalised adultery. Terming it as unconstitutional, archaic and manifestly arbitrary, the apex court struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Pronouncing the verdict Justice RF Nariman said that women cannot be treated as “chattel”, while Chief Justice Dipak Misra said earlier in the day, “Mere adultery can’t be a criminal offence. It is a matter of privacy. Husband is not the master of the wife. Women should be treated with equality along with men”.

Claiming that the judgment undermined the “sanctity of marriage”. Maliwal told reporters: “The 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.”

However, some representatives of women organisations welcomed the judgment and expressed disagreement with Maliwal’s views.