"Let Adultery Remain Crime In Armed Forces": Supreme Court Accepts Centre's Plea
Centre had moved to the top court to explain that decriminalising adultery for armed forces may cause instability among personnel who stay away from family.
Delhi | 14 Jan 2021 1:46 PM GMT / Updated : 2021-01-15T10:42:10+05:30
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The Supreme Court of India, on Wednesday, accepted the Centre's plea asking not to decriminalise adultery in armed forces.
Centre had moved to the top court to explain that this may cause instability among personnel who stay away from family. The government told the court that the main reason to let adultery remain a crime in armed forces is that for Army personnel who operate in challenging conditions away from families, there is always a concern about the "family indulging in an untoward activity".
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman took up the application submitted by Ministry of Defence and issued a notice to the petitioner on whose plea section 497 of IPC was declared unconstitutional. The bench also referred the matter to Chief Justice S A Bobde for setting up of a five-judge Constitution Bench which can clarify the position, reported The Indian Express.
On September 27, 2018, the Supreme Court had declared section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, that punished only men for having a sexual relationship with a married woman, as unconstitutional. The then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Mishra declaring the verdict, said, "The 158-year-old Victorian-era law is manifestly arbitrary and violated woman's right to equality and right to non-discrimination guaranteed under Article 14 and Article 15 of the Indian Constitution as it treats them as chattels."
Striking down the adultery law, the top court had observed that Section treats woman as the property of a man and subservient to the will of the master. It is a reflection of the social dominance that was prevalent when the penal provision was drafted.
"The enforcement of forced female fidelity by curtailing sexual autonomy is an affront to the fundamental right to dignity and equality," the top court had said.
However, the Supreme Court had also said that adultery would be a ground for divorce in matrimonial proceedings. In the historic verdict, the top court also warned that the verdict does not give licence to anyone to indulge in such acts.
A five-judge bench will now be constituted by the current Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, which will hear the Centre and the original petitioner.
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