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Adultery in India: Recriminalization Debate



  Dec 04, 2023

Re-criminalizing Adultery in India



1. What are the grounds for recommending re-criminalization of adultery?

Parliamentary Committee's Reasoning: To safeguard the sanctity of marriage on gender-neutral lines.

Dissenting Views: Opposition MPs argue against raising marriage to a sacramental level and state intrusion into private lives.

2. What did the panel recommend?

Recommendation: Reinstating adultery as a gender-neutral criminal offense.

Committee's View: Emphasis on protecting the institution of marriage.

3. Legislative history of adultery law in India?

Initial Stance by Lord Macaulay: Against penalizing adultery, favoring pecuniary compensation.

IPC Inclusion: Adultery made an offense, penalizing only the male offender.

Law Commission Reports (1971, 156th): Recommended removal of the exemption for women, considering societal changes.

Malimath Committee (2003): Suggested retaining adultery as an offense, but on gender-neutral terms.

4. Why was the earlier adultery law repealed?

Supreme Court Judgment (2018): Struck off adultery from the IPC, treating it as a matter of privacy and not a crime.

PIL by Joseph Shine: Challenged the constitutional validity of adultery law.

Centre's Argument: Diluting adultery would weaken the institution of marriage.

Court's Reasoning: Adultery as a civil wrong, not a crime; respect for individual autonomy and privacy.

5. Can the Supreme Court ruling be overturned?

Parliament's Power: Can overrule judicial rulings by altering the legal basis of the judgment.

Supreme Court's Stance: Validating legislation must cure the defect pointed out in the judgment


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