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What happens with consent, nobody's business: SC declares Section 497 'unconstitutional'


New Delhi, In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday held “adultery is not a crime.” The five-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, unanimously declared Indian Penal Code Section 497 (adultery) as “unconstitutional” adding that in many countries adultery was not an offence. The Bench, also comprising Justices R Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, gave the judgement after hearing a petition filed by a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) businessman from Kerala--Joseph Shine. Section 497 of IPC states, “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor”.

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