Govt defends adultery law in SC, says should not go by 'what happens in western countries'

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Aug 08, 2018, 01:59 PM(IST)

File photo: Supreme Court of India. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

The Centre on Wednesday defended the adultery law in the Supreme Court. 

The court is hearing a petition seeking the decriminalisation of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (Adultery Provision). 

India's adultery law states that: "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." 

In other words, only the man is punishable under the law, not the woman. 

Defending the law, Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand told the Supreme Court that "nobody should go by what happens in Western countries or other societies". 

Interestingly, the adultery law, like much of Indian law, is a remnant of Victorian-era law handed down to the country by the British. 

England itself has dropped the adultery law from its statute books. 

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