New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Wednesday indicated that a seven-judge Constitution Bench will reconsider the validity of the 157-year old adultery law in the Indian Penal Code punishing only man and not a married woman for adultery by treating her as a victim and not an abettor of crime.
A five-judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra made this opening observation during the course of hearing of a writ petition challenging the validity of IPC Section 497.
The court felt that since another five-judge Bench has already upheld the provision in the adultery law, a seven-judge bench must test the validity of the provision.
The section says: “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.”