Adultry law (IPC 497) is one more abused law after 498A,DVA, where only man can be charged under this law.in Adultry both man and women responsible, but in india when issue of punishment comes, women always left out as victim and innocent, even she herself slept with a man.
KOLKATA: Sujata Mathur had suspected her husband Brijesh was having an affair with her friend Ruchi, who is married too. But before she could do anything about it, it was Ruchi’s husband who brought charges of adultery against Brijesh.
If a man and a woman are having an extramarital affair, and charges of adultery are brought by the spouse, why should action be taken only against the man, and not the woman? And why should only a man be able to level charges against the woman’s lover whereas a woman is barred from doing the same against her husband?
These are questions that are being discussed in the corridors of power. The state government seems to have various opinions on the issue and a war of words has been on for months within the administration as it grapples with the matter to reach a final conclusion.
Though the state government has decided to place a proposal before the Centre for amendment of Section 497 of the IPC, the city police, the state law department and the women’s commission have different opinions on this. “The procedure is being delayed because of wide-ranging views and the Centre is pressing us to give a final opinion. It is a problem if different parts of the government think differently,” a senior official said on Monday.
Section 497 says: “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to five years, or with fine, or both. In such a case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.”
According to Malini Bhattacharya, chairperson, West Bengal Women’s Commission, a woman should be able to bring charges of adultery against her husband. She feels that there is no problem as such if action is also taken against a woman, but the woman’s other complaints in this connection, such as atrocities, should also be looked into properly and the punishment against that be made strong. Also, it should be ensured that alimony is properly given. However, Bhattacharya is also in favour of changing the provision from criminal to civil law.
The city police think that women should face the heat equally. “We have said in our opinion that action should be taken against the woman also and there should not be any bias in this, and women should also be able to file complaints,” DC(DD) Jawed Shamim said.
Bharati Mutsuddi, member of the state women’s commission and lawyer, says that a lot of women come to her “to say that their husbands are adulterous and torture them because they want to get rid of them, but they cannot do anything about it, because there is no legal provision through which they can take action.” On the other hand, there are men, too, who approach her to ask whether they can make a complaint against their wives for adultery. “In both cases, our hands are tied, because there is no legal provision. These changes should be brought in. Women are also less likely to be exploited if they know complaints can be made against them,” Mutsuddi feels.
However, this is exactly what the law department is up against. According to an official, the condition of women in
the country is still not so good that they would not be exploited if the law is changed. “The law is likely to be abused just like Section 498A is alleged to be,” the official feared.