In an unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court has said adultery is not a crime. Striking down the 158- year-old section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, the court said, the law was "arbitrary." It can however, be grounds for divorce "without a shadow of doubt", said the top court. During the hearings, the centre had defended the law saying adultery must remain a crime so that the sanctity of marriage can be protected. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, individually read out their verdicts.
Here are the key quotes of the Judges
Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Khanwilkar
- "Adultery law is manifestly arbitrary. It creates dent on the individuality of women"
- "Mere adultery can't be crime unless something is added"
- "There can be no shadow of doubt it can be ground for divorce"
- "A man having extra marital relationship with a married woman is no longer a criminal offence"
Justice RF Nariman
- "Man being the seducer and women being the victim no longer exits"
- "A man having sexual intercourse with a married woman is not a crime"
- "IPC 497 is violative and quashed"
Justice DY Chandrachud
- "Section 497 deprives a woman of autonomy and dignity"
- "Society attributes impossible attributes to a woman...raising woman to a pedestal is one part of such attribution"
- "A woman loses her voice, autonomy after entering marriage and manifest arbitrariness is writ large in Section 497"
Justice Indu Malhotra
- "Women living under the shadow of husbands have gone"
- "Section 497 institutionalizes discrimination"
- "State cannot interfere by punishing man alone"