New Delhi: Scrapping a 158-year law that punished a man for an affair but not the woman, treating her as her husband’s property, the Supreme Court on Thursday passed another landmark judgement by announcing that adultery is no longer a crime in India. However, the top court said it can be a grounds for divorce.
The husband is not the master of the wife,” said five most senior Supreme Court judges in a constitution bench, unanimously sticking up for gender justice and calling out the Victorian adultery law — Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code — as arbitrary.
Under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, it is an offence if a married man has sex with the wife of another married man without his “connivance” or “consent”. But only men, and not women, can be prosecuted under the adultery law.
The law punished a man who has an affair with a woman “without the consent or connivance of” her husband, with five years in jail or fine or both. There was no punishment for the woman, who was seen as the victim.
This is how twitterati reacted after the SC verdict: