The main concern, according to the respected journal Economic and Political Weeklyis "not whether the expectations of fidelity in a marriage are right or wrong, or whether adultery denotes sexual freedom. Where else is adultery a criminal offence? Taiwan punishes adultery by up to a year in prison and it is also deemed a crime in Indonesia.
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In fact, Indonesia is mzle laws that prohibit all consensual sex outside the institution of marriage. InSouth Korea's Supreme Court struck down a similar law where a man could be sent to prison for two years or less for adultery. The court said the law violated self-determination and privacy. More than 60 countries around the world had done away with laws that made adultery a crime, according to Indian lawyer Kaleeswaram Raj.
In the UK, adultery is not a criminal offence and like many other countries, one of the main reasons given for divorce. Couples cannot use adultery as a ground for divorce if they lived together as a couple for six months after the infidelity was known about.
What did the adultery law say?
Have there been challenges to the law? Inthe law was first challenged by a petitioner asking why women cannot be punished for the offence, and that such "exemption was discriminatory". Since then, the top court has rejected similar pleas, including the constitutional validity of the law, at least twice - and A married woman had approached the court, demanding the right to file a complaint of adultery against her husband's unmarried lover.
The court, rather patronisingly, described the plea as a "crusade by a woman against a woman".
It said sekes law was about punishing the "outsider" who "breaks into the matrimonial home" and "violates its sanctity". Two different panels on law reforms in and recommended that women should also be prosecuted for the offence.
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Therefore there is no good reason for not meting out similar treatment to the wife who has sexual intercourse with a married man," the panel, led by a judge, said. Inthe top court, hearing another plea, said the law was facing criticism for "showing a strong gender bias, it makes the position of a married woman almost as a property of her husband".
What has the reaction been to the latest ruling? Many Indians were not even aware the law existed.
However, after Thursday's ruling, people have been largely supportive of the verdict. Decriminalising of Adultery is welcome and long overdue.
Adultery is now grounds for divorce not crime. The law criminalising men for relations with some other man's wife was patriarchal, assumes wife is husband's property and has no autonomy.
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View original tweet on Twitter Court shows the way again! Adultery is grounds for divorce- but criminalizing inda sexual and marital choices is State Over reach. The only time the State should be in your bedroom is if consent is missing. View original tweet on Twitter Others said the top court should now move to make marital rape a criminal offence: check.