The Price of Adultery

In: Social Issues

Submitted By suvithedude
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The price of adultery
The Indian law on adultery, drafted more than a century ago, makes it a punishable offence for men alone. The recent proposal to punish women too has generated much debate. Shoma A. Chatterjilooks at the archaic law in the light of changing social mores
HOW fair is the National Commission for Women’s (NCW) stand against the Union Government’s attempt to amend Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code regarding the reversegender bias contained in the country’s age-old law on adultery? It is proposed to include women within the purview of Section 497 as against its present rules that expressly state that a married woman cannot be punished even as an abettor in a case of adultery. Whether the woman is a victim of adultery or is herself an adulteress, she is completely free of being penalised for her misdemeanour. Should this bias continue into 2007?
The question is a tough one to answer. The bonds of marriage have a religious, social and legal sanction in India. Thus, any sexual liaison that defies this bond spells noncompliance with social norms. It is a violation of the sacred marriage vows religiously and morally held to be sacrosanct and is punishable under the laws of

Illustration by Aditi Chahar the land. Bigamy for all non-Muslims is a crime vide Section 494 of the IPC. Why should women remain immune to the law today?
What is adultery
Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines "adultery" thus: "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…...

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