The Supreme Court on January 22, 2024 issued a notice to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 38 MLAs supporting him on Shiv Sena (UBT)’s plea challenging Speaker Narwekar’s January 10, 2024 order.
With the Supreme Court striking down Section 497 (IPC) or the Adultery law as unconstitutional, the Punjab Women Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati feels women, whose husbands who are having extramarital affair, will have nowhere to go in such cases following this judgment.
“I respect the Supreme Court decision, but it will have mixed results. As now having an extramarital affair is not a crime, such cases are bound to go up many times. It will break many Indian families specially in cities where people are more aware about the legal provisions,” Gulati told The Statesman.
“We get many such cases where women complain against their husbands for having extra-marital affairs. But now what will we tell such women that it’s legal, so we can’t take any action. Where would a woman in such cases go now when her husband would tell her that he was having affair but it is not against any law and she was free to do whatever she wishes to?,” she added.
The chairperson said even the women in extra marital affairs will also openly admit the same even if it breaks a family. “The option of taking a divorce is there for women facing extra-marital affairs. But not everyone wants to have a divorce in a such case and everything gets fine if the affairs comes to an end. After all, Indian women don’t want to break their house. They have to think of the future of their children also,” she said.
Gulati said this decision has given the license to extra marital affairs and lead to increase in number of divorce cases. “As a woman, a wife and a mother, I feel this decision will have negative impact on the society as a while and our future generations also. It may have some good results, but it will have bad results also,” she said.
Gulati said if discrimination against women has come to an end, there are many other ways to do it than making adultery legal.
“Why is that crime against women is not coming to an end? Don’t we need even more stringent laws to deal with this phenomenon so that no one dares to do a crime against a women,” she added.
The five-judge SC bench on Thursday struck down Section 497 (IPC) or the Adultery law as unconstitutional. It cannot be treated as a criminal offence but can be used as a ground to file a divorce. The Centre had argued in favour of the law saying it is necessary to protect the institution of marriage.