India has adopted the I.P.C from England in 1860. In this 21st century men & women are equal in India. Constitution is trying to provide India parity between its male &female class, but certain provisions as sec 497 I.P.C, 1860 are creating impediments in the path of equality. The dictum passed by sc over sec 497 is also unwisely interpreted.

What are the conundrums under sec 497 I.P.C???

If a person commits sexual intercourse with female whom he knows or has reason to believe wife of another men without the consent or connivance of that men then he will be liable for imprisonment which may extend up to 5yrs. Reading sec 497 in consonance with sec 197 Cr.P.C. it is explicit that the aggrieved is only husband under Sec 497. So following are the conflicts which sec 497 I.P.C read with sec 197 Cr.P.C is creating:-

  • It neither punishes wife of aggrieved.
  • If a females husband is committing the said act with any other unmarried or married female then the act of adultery does not gives her right to complain as aggrieved against miscreant female,

Nor the sec punishes such female culprit, who is being involved in such sexual act,

Nor it gives right to such wife to make his husband culprit.

  • If husband consents the adultery by wife then also the act not amounts to adultery according to I.P.C.

So sec 497 I.P.C read with sec197 Cr.P.C becomes lopsided &deleterious in the situations mentioned above.

In sowmithri Vishnu vs. union of India (1985) SC gave a very lopsided judgement i.e.

“It is only men who are the culprit not the females in the illicit act” because in modern day females are equally indulged in such kind of acts. Females are also abettors they are also wrongdoers and enticers.

In V.Revathi vs. union of India (1988) SC held:-

“ Sec 497 neither gives right to wife to punish her husband nor it gives husband right to punish his wife. Both are disabled to strike each other with the criminal weapon. They can either condone the offence in the spirit of forget or forgive & live together or get divorce”

This view of SC is detrimental as it had not considered the provision from all aspects. Advocate Kaleeswaram raj has filed a PIL for the same in SC

Accordingly, it is very important that the obnoxious provision need to be altered according to the modern changed circumstances where male and female both are same in front of law. They both are in “PARI DELICTO” to make justice prevail in India.


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