India on Thursday issued a landmark judgement by scrapping the pre-Independence provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code.
The judgement was historic in many ways and one of them was the way in which it came about. In 1985, Chief Justice YV Chandrachud had upheld the constitutional validity of Section 497 (adultery).
The Section 497 titled ‘Adultery’ treated anyone guilty who has sexual intercourse with a person who is the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape.
Almost 30 years later, his son Justice DY Chandrachud, among the five judges who called Section 497, scrapped the law that punishes men and not women for adultery.
Chandrachud overruled father's judgement, saying “the wife cannot be treated as a commodity by leaving her at the discretion of her husband to give consent to the act.”
"Sexual autonomy of a woman cannot be compromised, it's her right and there cannot be any conditions," Justice DY Chandrachud said, asserting that the adultery law destroyed women's dignity and rights as she was treated as the property of her husband.
Last year, Justice DY Chandrachud had overruled his father's judgement on privacy, calling it "seriously flawed".
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First Published: IST