Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal Thursday called the Supreme Court’s verdict on adultery as an “anti-women decision”. The top court Thursday delivered a unanimous ruling on Thursday, quashing Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code and calling it unconstitutional.
Maliwal questioned the sanctity of marriage saying, “In a way, you’ve given open general license to the people of this country to be in marriages but at the same time have illegitimate relationships with others.”
Totally disagree with SC on adultery. They’ve given license to married couples 4 adulterous relationships. What’s sanctity of marriage then?
Instead of making 497 gender neutral, criminalising it both for women and men they have decriminalised it totally! Anti women decision.
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) September 27, 2018
Maliwal also condemned Section 497 IPC, saying it should be gender-neutral where both genders are punished for committing adultery. “I think this is just going to add pain to the women in our country and I don’t agree with it,” said the DCW Chairperson.
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Voicing concern against the verdict of the Supreme Court, social activist Brinda Adige also sought clarity if the verdict is a gateway to polygamy.
“Because we know that men very often marry two, three times and there is so much of problem when the first, second or third wife are abandoned. If adultery is not a crime, how is this woman even going to file a case against the husband who might desert or abandon her. It’s a concern,” she said.
Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury drew similarities between Thursday’s verdict on adultery and the verdict on triple talaq saying, “They have done that but now the men will just abandon us or not give us talaq. They will have polygamy or nikah hallala which creates hell for us as women. I am glad it’s not a crime anymore but I do not see how it helps. The court should… give us clarity.”
A five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said that unequal treatment of women invites the wrath of the Constitution.
Prior to being struck down, Section 497 IPC read, “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.”
(with PTI inputs)