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Adultery no longer a criminal offence in India

September 27, 2018 4:03 pm

India’s top court has ruled adultery is no longer a crime, striking down a 158-year-old colonial-era law which it said treated women as male property.

Previously any man who had sex with a married woman, without the permission of her husband, had committed a crime.

A petitioner had challenged the law saying it was arbitrary and discriminated against men and women.

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It is not clear how many men have been prosecuted under the law – there is no data available.

This is the second colonial-era law struck down by India’s Supreme Court this month – it also overturned a 157-year-old law which effectively criminalised gay sex in India.

While reading out the judgement on adultery, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that while it could be grounds for civil issues like divorce, “it cannot be a criminal offence”.

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