Adultery is no longer a crime in India because of a ruling Thursday by country's highest court.
I welcome the judgement of the Supreme Court striking down the 158-year-old law based on Victorian values. On the criminal side, mere adultery can not be a crime unless it attracts the scope of Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code relating to abetment of suicide, where the wife's adultery becomes a cause for the husband to kill himself. The more than century-old law prescribed that any man who slept with a married woman without her husband's permission had committed adultery, a crime carrying a five-year prison term in the conservative country. Women having affairs could not be prosecuted, but they also couldn't file a complaint against cheating husbands.
The top court emphatically endorsed the right of a woman to explore her own sexuality, asserting that a wife is not a "chattel" of a husband. Misra met with the dissenting judges, who continued on the bench. Section 497 prevents women from making choices and held that this provision is a relic from the past.
Businessman Joseph Shine challenged the court to strike down the law, arguing it was discriminatory against women and arbitrary. Equality is the governing principle of a system.
The apex court noted that Section 497 on the one hand, protects a woman (accused of adultery) and on the other, does not protect the other woman, namely the wife of the adulterous man. "A husband is not the master of his wife".
Rejecting the contention of the Centre, the court said: "The ostensible object of Section 497, as pleaded by the State, being to protect and preserve the sanctity of marriage, is not in fact the object of Section 497 at all...."
However, India's ruling BJP government had opposed the petition, insisting that adultery should remain a criminal offence.
The hotelier, who has been reluctant to speak about the case, told the newspaper why he fought all the way to abolish the adultery law.
In 2015, South Korea's Constitutional Court struck down an adultery law, sending shares in condom maker Unidus soaring.
The law dictated that the woman could not be punished as an abettor. "The emphasis on the element of connivance or consent of the husband tantamount to subordination of women".
And although there is no information on actual convictions under the law, Kaleeswaram Raj, a lawyer for the petitioner, said the adultery law was "often misused" by husbands during matrimonial disputes such as divorce, or civil cases relating to wives receiving maintenance.
While the law allows the aggrieved husband of the married woman in an adulterous relationship to file a complaint, it does not extend the same right to an aggrieved woman if her husband is found to be in an adulterous relationship.
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He began the day with a three shot lead and consolodated that instantly with an opening birdie to move four clear of Rose. In May 2017, Woods was arrested in Florida and charged with driving under the influence.
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