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SC to examine the Central government’s request to keep adultery a crime in the armed forces

New Delhi, Jan 13: The Central government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to exempt the Armed Forces from the purview of its 2018 judgement of decriminalizing adultery, reported Live Law. The top court agreed to examine the plea. A bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman requested the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde to list the matter before a five-judge bench.

In September 2019the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code that makes adultery a punishable offence for men. In four separate but concurring judgments, the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court said the 158-year-old law was unconstitutional and fell foul of Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) and Article 14 (Right to equality).

The apex court also declared Section 198(1) and 198(2) of the CrPC, which allows a husband to bring charges against the man with whom his wife committed adultery, unconstitutional. The then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who pronounced the judgment in concurrence with Justice AM Khanwilkar, said while adultery could be a ground for civil issues, including dissolution of marriage, it could not be a criminal offence