Posted on: February 3, 2024 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Author: Bhaskar Pandey, Fairfield Institute of Management and Technology, Delhi

Date of Judgement: 27 September 2018

Citation: (2019) 3 SCC 39, AIR 2018 SC 4898

Petitioner: Joseph Shine

Respondent: Union of India

Judges Name: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, D Y Chandrachud, Justice A M Khanwilkar, R F Nariman, and Indu Malhotra.


Therefore, in 2017, Joseph Shine initiated a petition on the ground of article 32 and sought to invalidate Section 497 IPC dealing with criminal offence over adultery.

The Supreme Court invalidated Section 497 of the IPC on grounds that it was contravening Articles 14, 15 and Article 2I There were four concurring judgments by the five Judge Bench unanimously holding that law was outdated, arbitrary and paternalistic attacking a woman’s autonomy dignity, & privacy. Section 198(2) of CrPC which merely allowed a husband to initiate any prosecution under IPC’s Sec.497 was also deemed unconstitutional by the court. This judgment nullified the Court rulings in Yusuf Abdul Aziz vs. State of Bombay (1954 SCR 930)-Sowmithri Vishnu v. Union of India (1985) Supp SCC 137 and Vishnu Revathi vs. In Union of India ((1988) 2 SCC 72), the constitutional validity in section497 was upheld.

Several judgments explored the developments with respect to privacy right in detail, invoking K.S Puttaswamy vs The decision in Union of India ((2017) 10 SCC 1), to reiterate the need for safeguarding sexual autonomy and privacy when it comes to matters within the marital sphere. The court suggested that some negative effects might stem from the lack of faithfulness between parties to a marriage and that it would be left for them to choose how they want, either filing a divorce or otherwise, as introduction of criminal penalties.

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