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Laws Of Adultery In India (In The Light Of Constitutional Morality And Transformative Constitutionalism)

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Author: P. P. Mitra


Adultery was a criminal offence under Chapter XX of the Indian Penal Code until it was quashed by the Supreme Court of India on 27 September 2018 as unconstitutional.[1] The law dated from 1860. Under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which was the section dealing with adultery, a man who had consensual sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without that husband’s consent or connivance could have been punished for this offence with up to five years imprisonment, a fine or both. A such, the concept of adultery targeted the act of sexual intercourse occurring between a married woman and a man other than her husband, in which case the man would be guilty whereas the wife was exempt from punishment. When a married man had sexual intercourse with and unmarried woman, no party was punishable; while if a married man had sexual intercourse with a married woman other than his wife, the married man’s crime was against the husband of that married woman, not against the man’s own wife towards whom he had been unfaithful. Adultery was only prosecutable upon the complaint of the aggrieved husband (or in exceptional circumstances by a party whom the husband had entrusted with the care of his wife)

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