Adultery verdict: Women’s commissions have conflicting take on SC ruling
New Delhi, Sept 28: The Supreme Court on Thursday, September 27, gave its ruling that adultery is not a crime and it saw people getting polarised over their reaction. While some welcomed it saying it brought women on an equal pedestal with men by diluting an archaic law, others felt it would only see people indulging in more adultery, putting the institution of marriage in jeopardy.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra was unanimous in its call to strike down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised adultery. It held the section violated women's right to equality.
However, not all women and their bodies were unanimous over the apex court's ruling.
DCW chairperson against decision
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal, for instance, was not happy with the verdict and said on Twitter that it only gave license to married couples to engage in adultery. "What's sanctity of marriage then? Instead of making 497 gender neutral, criminalising it both for women and men they have decriminalised it totally! Anti women decision."
Totally disagree with SC on adultery. They've given license to married couples 4 adulterous relationships. What's sanctity of marriage then?— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) September 27, 2018
Instead of making 497 gender neutral, criminalising it both for women and men they have decriminalised it totally! Anti women decision.
NCW chief for the decision
Rekha Sharma, the chief of National Commission for Women (NCW), welcomed the ruling said it should have happened long ago. She said the law belonged to the British Era and although the British had done away with it long ago, India was still "stuck with it".
I welcome the Supreme Court’s verdict to strike down Sec 497 and abolish the outdated #adulterylaw as a criminal offence. Women are not the property of their husbands. This decision is not only for all the women but it is also a gender-neutral judgement. @ncwindia @MinistryWCD— rekha sharma (@sharmarekha) September 27, 2018
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. Good riddance #AdulteryVerdict— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) September 27, 2018
Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women's Association and a CPI(ML) Polit Bureau member also welcomed the verdict saying it was long overdue.