Adultery Under Section 497 Of IPC Is Unconstitutional: Supreme Court

Adultery Under Section 497 Of IPC Is Unconstitutional: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes adultery, as unconstitutional.

A five judge Constitution bench comprising Chief justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra, R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar held that Section 497of IPC is unconstitutional and said “We declare Section 497 of IPC and Section 198 of CrPC dealing with prosecution of offences against marriage as unconstitutional.”

The Chief Justice Dipak Misra said,“Any provision of law affecting individual dignity and equality of women invites wrath of  constitution. It’s time to say that husband is not the master of wife. Legal sovereignty of one sex over other sex is wrong” He also stated that adultery can be ground for divorce but not a criminal offence.

The court observed that Section 497 of IPC violated a woman’s right to dignity, resulting in infringement of Article 21 of the Constitution of India which includes right to live with dignity.

The Supreme Court declared that:

  1. Section 497 of IPC is struck down as unconstitutional being voilative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
  2. Section 198(2) of Crpc which contains the procedure of prosecution under chapter XX of the IPC shall be unconstitutional only to the extent that it is applicable to the offence of adultery under section 497 of IPC.
  3. The decisions in Sowmithri Vishnu, V. Revathi and W. Kalyani hereby stand overruled.

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