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Adultery a public wrong, causes injury to family: Centre to SC

The submissions were made before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra by the Centre in its 17-page written note given to it by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand.


PTI Last Updated at 08 Aug 2018, 20:08 IST India

The Centre today favored in the Supreme Court the retention of penal law on adultery, saying that it is a public wrong which causes mental and physical injury to the spouse, children and the family.

The submissions were made before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra by the Centre in its 17-page written note given to it by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand.

"It is an action willingly and knowingly done with the knowledge that it would hurt the spouse, the children, and the family. Such intentional action which impinges on the sanctity of marriage and sexual fidelity encompassed in marriage, which forms the backbone of the Indian society, has been classified and defined by the Indian State as a criminal offense in the exercise of its constitutional powers," the Centre said.

It said that adultery is not an action that affected just two people and it was a "tripartite interplay" in which the ones who get the most aggrieved often have no idea about the actions of the adulterous couple.

The Centre said the previous judicial decisions challenging the vires of Section 497 have been dismissed on the ground that adultery is an offense against marriage.

Referring to the findings of the Malimath Committee, it said that the panel in its report has held that the object of this section is to preserve the sanctity of the marriage.

"The decriminalization of adultery will result in weakening the sanctity of a marital bond and will result in laxity in the marital bond in a state where many women are still dependent on their spouses for their own as well as the survival of their children," the Centre said.

Adultery is a criminal offense in 17 countries including 20 States in United States of America including New York, Massachusetts etc, it added.

"The Constitution empowers the Centre and states to legislate on criminal law and the Centre has exercised its powers in defining adultery and bigamy as criminal offenses under the Penal Code. Judicial review will, therefore, be available only on the grounds of established violation of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution.

"It is important to remember that the context of Section 497 IPC is that only the outsider to the marriage can be punished," it said.

Adultery is a crime "against marriage and society" and thus the "act of adultery is a criminal offense as it affects the matrimonial right of a spouse. The act of adultery causes mental injury," it said.

Women are exempted from punishment for the offense, it said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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