3 days before Ranbir Penal Code was replaced by IPC, SC struck down its adultery clause

  1. The Supreme Court on 2nd August had struck down Section 497 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) that dealt with adultery, holding it “unconstitutional”. RPC is the criminal code applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. In September 2018, the Supreme Court had struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized adultery.
  3. Section 497 of the IPC punished a married man for having sex with wife of another man. However, sexual intercourse is was exempted from punishment if it was done with the “consent or connivance” of other woman’s husband. It criminalised only the man and not the woman involved.
  4. The only difference between section 497 of IPC and Sec 497 of RPC is that RPC states that the wife shall be punishable as an abettor.
  5. Section 497 was declared unconstitutional down by SC on the grounds that it violated Article 14, Article 15 and Article 21 of the constitution.
  6. It violated Article 14 (Equality before Law) as it punished only men for adultery. It violated Article 15 (Right against discrimination) as it discriminated on the ground of sex -treats wife as husband’s property. It violated Article 21 (Right to Life) as it violated one’s right to privacy.