The often misinterpreted term – “Adultery”!

Adultery Laws in India

Adultery is a term associated with extramarital sex that is deemed unacceptable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. What sexual pursuits draft adultery varies, as well as the social, religious, and legal consequences. A single act of sexual intercourse is sufficient to constitute adultery, and a more long-term sexual relationship becomes an affair.

What is considered to be Adultery?

Intentional sexual relations between an individual who is married and someone who is not the spouse of the person. The act is seen as wrongful regardless of whether the other person was married. At Common Law, adultery was unlawful intercourse between a married woman and any man other than her husband.

What comprises Adultery Law in India?

Indian Penal Code under section 497 deals with Adultery. According to the Indian penal law, a woman cannot be convicted of infidelity. In India, Only a man who has consensual sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without his consent can be liable under this offense in India. If someone “lives in adultery,” the partner can file for separation.

Adultery Laws In India

We can sum up by saying that adultery is a consensual relationship between a married person and somebody who is not his/her legal spouse. Adultery is therefore legally wrong and is a punishable offense in India. Performing adultery is a crime which violates the marriage vows and is harmful to public morals. It is considered illegal in many countries, and certain laws have been passed to keep a check on it. Though performing adultery does not sum up to any criminal offense, it may still invite due consequences, and the person involved may be penalized and punished especially if the case is of separation.

History of Adultery

Ancient Greece and Roman world had harsh laws against adultery, but those were applicable only if the female was married. Those laws were not applicable if a man maintained a sexual relationship with a slave or an unwed woman. The Bible too prohibits adultery, and the seventh commandment clearly states this. In Judaism, both the parties were uniformly responsible for adultery. However, it applied only when the female partner was married. Lord Jesus also abhorred adultery and considered that even looking at a woman with lust is equal to adultery. As per ancient Hindu laws, only the felonious females were punished and killed whereas the men were left off with warnings only.

Adultery laws

A  legal definition of adultery would be different from one country to another. Laws related to infidelity vary from statute to statute. In some places, it is an offense, and the adulterer has to face death penalty while at some place it may not be a punishable crime. As per some statutes, if either individual is married to someone else, both parties to an adulterous liaison are culpable to the offense. As per the Indian jurisdiction, the adultery law comes under Section 497 of the Indian penal code and two rules cater to adultery, they are:-

Section 497 of IPC:

As per  IPC, section 497  it is adultery when somebody has sexual intercourse with someone whom he identifies or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the permission of that man, such sexual intercourse not resulting to the offense of rape, is guilty of the crime of adultery. Such an act is liable to punishment with confinement of either for a period which may extend to five years or with fine or with both. In such case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.

Section 498 of IPC:

Enticing or detaining married women with criminal intent also calls for punishment with subjecting of both order for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Our society abominates marital infidelity/Adultery and these laws have been passed to maintain and preserve the sanctity of marriage.