Supreme Court Quashes Review Petitions Filed Against Judgment of Decriminalizing Adultery

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On 25 June 2020, the Apex Court heard the case of All Religious Affinity Movement v. Joseph Shine & Anr. In the petition, the petitioners argued against the previous judgment delivered by the SC on adultery.

Brief Facts of the Case 

Recently, the SC pronounced the judgment decriminalizing adultery. It struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code. At that time, CJI SA Bobde headed the bench. Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code punished a married man for having sex with the wife of another man. However, the sexual act was exempted from punishment if it is performed with the consent of the husband of the other woman. Also, the provision exempts the wife from punishment and states that the wife should not be even treated as an abettor.

Now, the SC quashed the two review petitions filed against its previous judgment.

Petitioner’s Submission

The organisation named All Religious Affinity Movement filed the review petition. The petition seeks a review against the judgment that decriminalized adultery.

Court’s Observation

The bench comprised of the then CJI Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar, RF Nariman, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra. The Court held that the penal provision violated a woman’s right to dignity. Furthermore, it results in the infringement of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court also observed that the provision treated women as personal property.

Court’s Order

“We have gone through the Review Petitions and the connected papers filed therewith. We do not find any ground, whatsoever, to entertain the same.” – said the bench while dismissing the Review Petitions.


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