Section 497 of IPC

Axing adultery law

Print edition : October 26, 2018

Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar stated in their lead judgment that “progression in law and the perceptual shift compels the present to have a penetrating look to the past”. Photo: PTI

Justice A.M. Khanwilkar. Photo: PTI

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. He dwelled on the connection between patriarchy and the subordinate status of women in marriage. Photo: AP

Justice Indu Malhotra. She called Section 497 “institutionalised discrimination” which “legalised adultery”. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Justice Rohinton F. Nariman. He held that what was punished was not adultery per se but the proprietary interest of a married man in his wife. Photo: S. Krishnamoorthy

Making constitutional morality as the basis of its judgment, the Supreme Court decriminalises adultery, holding that Section 497 of the IPC is “backward looking and retrograde”.
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