A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will answer whether the exemption granted to women from being punished for adultery needs to be changed. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Friday referred a PIL challenging Section 497 of IPC, which says that in an offence of adultery only the man can be punished and the woman cannot be punished even as abettor, to a Constitution bench.
The bench said the provision seems “quite archaic, especially when there is societal progress”. In three earlier judgments, the court had upheld the provision.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said “…We think it appropriate that the earlier judgments required to be reconsidered… (due to) social progression, perceptual shift, gender equality and gender sensitivity.”
The matter will now be heard after CJI gives shape to Constitution bench.
The petition was filed by a non-resident Keralite Joseph Shine, through advocate Suvidutt Sundaram and challenged the constitutionality of Section 497 of IPC read with Section 198(2) of CrPC. Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Kaleeswaram Raj had said Section 497 of IPC was unconstitutional as it discriminates against men and violates Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.