“When adultery walks in, Everything worth having walks out.”
Time has come when the Society must Realise that a woman is equal to a man in every aspect.
In this era of soaring Feminism, when we all are vouching for Gender Neutrality, the laws relating to adultery are still something to which all of us are turning a blind eye.
The Supreme Court in an array of judgements has adjudicated that the mere fact that a person involved in an extra marital affair is a women, immunises her from any kind of penal action in terms of adultery and even in terms her being an abettor to adultery.
It is to be noted that the very basic idea of Gender neutrality has been founded on the lines of egalitarianism. Speaking of egalitarianism inter-alia it is bestowed in the very spirit of our holy Constitution. Yet the irony is that despite of the fact the act of the adultery is consensual, the supreme court is still in consensus with the fact that the hammer of law shall fall only on one class of offenders i.e. men.
When the evil of adultery knocks at the door of a wedded couple, not only does it devastate the holiness of the matrimonial bond but also wreaks havoc at the sanctity of the institution of family.
Yet the Plight of the Indian Legislature is such that the Section 497 of India Penal Code blazons that whosoever has sexual intercourse with the wife of another man, is guilty of adultery which is punishable with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to 5 years, or with fine, or with both. What more to say it further states that the woman involved can’t be punished under this section. This means that Section 497 only treats men as offenders and lets woman walk free. Whereas consent is in the very essence of the act of adultery.
Where on one hand our Apex Court which is the monument of faith of every citizen of this nation keeps reiterating the pivotal role of fundamental rights in the basic structure of this nation, on the other hand it overlooks blatantly prevalent practice of making a mockery of the fundamental right of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution. Where the Article 15 clearly promulgates prohibition of Discrimination on the basis of gender, there are legislations like this which continue to contradict it.
We as the responsible and aware citizens of this nation should question ourselves “Isn’t it unfair that women are set free despite the fact that they are equal partners in this consensual act? What about the concept of common intention and meeting of the minds?”
The intention of the legislature while enacting penal laws was to discourage the commission of the offences. A person who has been punished for an offence would surely rethink before committing it again but what can we say about some one who is not being punished for being involved in the commission of such an Anti-Social Act?
What can be done if an adulterous women commits such an act again with a different individual? Till when can we keep punishing only the men? Many say that the option of divorce is always available but will it stop her from causing a similar trauma to her new spouse? And can divorce extinguish all the torment and agony afflicted upon the husband?
Lastly it is for us to decide that whether the shaming and stigmatisation of such women by our patriarchal society is a punishment enough or do we need appropriate laws to punish them?