The parliamentary panel has recommended that adultery be considered a crime again. A parliamentary panel on Tuesday recommended criminalizing adultery, saying marriage is a sacred institution and should be protected.
Last September, Home Minister Amit Shah, while introducing the Indian Judicial Code Bill, had asked the parliamentary panel to submit a report.
The report also argues that the amended adultery law should be considered a gender neutral crime and both parties – male and female – should be held equally liable.
Report against Supreme Court order?
If the panel’s report is accepted by the government, it will be in conflict with a landmark 2018 judgment of a five-member bench of the Supreme Court.
Because the Supreme Court had said in its decision that adultery cannot and should not be a crime. In fact, in 2018, a five-member bench of the Supreme Court had said that adultery cannot be a crime.
However, a civil offense may be grounds for divorce. The then Chief Justice Deepak Mishra had rejected the 163-year-old colonial era law which stated that the husband was the owner of the wife. The law then stated that a man who had sexual intercourse with a married woman without her husband’s consent could face a five-year sentence if found guilty. The woman will not be punished.
Now the panel has recommended that a gender neutral provision should be made in the adultery law, that is, whether the violator is a man, a woman, or a third gender, everyone will have to face this law.
Before the 2018 decision, the law stated that a man who has sex with a married woman without her husband’s consent could face a five-year jail term if found guilty. The woman will not be punished.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced all three bills in Parliament in September. These bills were referred to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The chairman of the parliamentary panel is BJP MP Brijlal. The panel was to study all three bills and submit its report within three months.
All three bills were sent to the panel in August. The Indian Judicial Code is part of a set of three that will replace the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act.