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Keep adultery a crime in the armed forces’: SC agrees to examine Centre’s plea

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Keep adultery a crime in the armed forces’: SC agrees to examine Centre’s plea:


The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the Central government’s request to keep adultery a crime in the armed forces.

  • The matter has been referred to Chief Justice S A Bobde for setting up of a five-judge Constitution Bench which can clarify the position.

What’s the issue?

The Centre, in its plea, said the 2018 verdict should not apply to armed forces where personnel can be cashiered from service on the grounds of unbecoming conduct for committing adultery with a colleague’s wife.

Need for:

Personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were a “distinct class”. They were governed by special legislation, the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act.

September 2018 Supreme Court verdict:

In September 2018, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code that makes adultery a punishable offence for men.

The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court said:

  1. The 158-year-old law was unconstitutional and fell foul of Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) and Article 14 (Right to equality).
  2. Section 198(1) and 198(2) of the CrPC, which allows a husband to bring charges against the man with whom his wife committed adultery, are unconstitutional.
  3. While adultery could be a ground for civil issues, including dissolution of marriage, it could not be a criminal offence.


Prelims Link:

  1. Review vs Curative petition.
  2. Procedure to be followed.
  3. Who can file?
  4. Time- period within which a review petition should be filed?
  5. What is Section 497 of IPC?
  6. What is Article 137?

Mains Link:

What is a review petition? What is the procedure to be followed? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.