Adultery, voluntary sex between a married person and another who is not a spouse, is no longer a crime in India, the apex court has ruled.
Granting the request of Joseph Shine, a 41-year-old Indian businessman living in Italy, who had petitioned the court in August, the Supreme Court knock down the 158-year old colonial –era law the law which it said treated women as male property.
Shine argued that it discriminated against men by only holding them liable for extra-marital relationships, while treating women like objects.
He said: “Married women are not a special case for the purpose of prosecution for adultery. They are not in any way situated differently than men.”
Previously any man who had sex with a married woman, without the permission of her husband, had committed a crime.
A petitioner had challenged the law saying it was arbitrary and discriminated against men and women.
While reading out the judgement on adultery, Chief Justice of the country’s Supreme Court, Dipak Misra said that while it could be grounds for civil issues like divorce, “it cannot be a criminal offence”.Ad