The Supreme Court will be going to take another decision today on adultery that it should continue to be an offence under the country’s 19th-century criminal law or not.
According to Indian Penal Code Section 497, adultery is an offence if a married man has sex with the wife of another married man without his consent. But only men and not women can be prosecuted under this law.
However, adultery is the only provision of IPC in which men and women are treated differently, for one thing. Because in this law, married women are treated as the property of their husband.
Last year, a petition had been filed by an Italy-based non-resident Indian, Joseph Shine and he questioned the gender bias in the colonial-era law hat he argued, flies in the face of the constitutional right to equality.
However, the matter was referred to a Constitution Bench in January 2018. The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and consisting of Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwiklar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra commenced hearing the case in August and reserved their judgement on 8th August.