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4) SC’s ruling on Adultery law is a triumph for gender equality. Discuss. (250 words) 

Topic – Indian polity : Issues

4) SC’s ruling on Adultery law is a triumph for gender equality. Discuss. (250 words) 


Why this question

Verdicts of supreme court on laws which affect the conscience and morality of society needs to be prepared. Section 497 of IPC has been a matter of debate over equality of sexes since long and the court verdict was on progressive lines. This issue is this important for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what section 497 of IPC talks about, the verdict of the court in the case and the reasons why the verdict is an important landmark for gender equality. We need to also discuss the other side of the debate wherein we highlight that India still needs to go a long way in ensuring true equality of sexes.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what section 497 of IPC is – it deemed adultery a crime.


  • Discuss how adultery is defined under the Act – The archaic law stipulated that only a married man can invoke Section 497 against another man for having a relationship with his wife. A woman with a similar grievance could not approach the court. The law also interpreted adultery as a married man’s sexual relationship with a married woman which meant that his relations with, say, a single woman was not.
  • Highlight the reasons given by the court as to why this section has been declared unconstitutional.
  • Discuss how this is good for gender equality – women no longer lived in the shadows of their husbands and are not mere objects who can be preyed upon by men who then become criminally liable if the woman’s husband has not given his consent to an adulterous relationship. Also mention that the law is archaic and is not in tune with societal realities of our times
  • Discuss why this is only a small victory and a lot more needs to be done for ensuring true gender equality

Conclusion – Give your view on the verdict and whether this is a victory for true equality among sexes.