The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear Centre’s plea to keep adultery a crime in armed forces. The central government has requested the apex court to issue a clarification on its 2018 judgement decriminalising adultery under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code.
The government argued that 2018 verdict should not apply to armed forces where personnel can be `cashiered from service on the grounds of unbecoming conduct for committing adultery with a colleague’s wife’, reported The Indian Express. In its plea, the government also mentioned that adultery may cause “instability” for families of armed forces, as defence personnel are often separated from their families for long periods of time, reported Live Law.
Government also pointed out that defence personnel many times have to stay away from families for long duration due to posting on borders.
A bench of Justice R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph sent the matter to the Chief justice for listing it before a five-judge bench.
What was the 2018 verdict on adultery law?
On September 27, 2018, Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code. The Constitutional Bench of then Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra held that Section 497 violated Artice 14 (right to equality), Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty and destroyed the dignity of women.
Under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, adultery was a criminal offence committed by a man against a married man if the former engaged in sexual intercourse with the latter's wife. A convict could be sentenced to five years jail term.