Can a woman be punished for adultery? Supreme Court to examine

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to examine the constitutional validity of a 157-year-old ‘gender discriminatory’ provision in Indian Penal Code (IPC) which punishes a married man for adultery for consensual sexual relations with another man’s wife.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud sought the Centre’s response in four weeks to a PIL by Joseph Shine from Kerala who is employed at Trento in Italy on why a married man alone and not the consenting wife of another should be hauled up.

The Indian Penal Code outlaws a “consensual” sexual intercourse between a man and a married woman unless it has the consent of the husband as well. But it is only the man who can be prosecuted on the husband’s complaint, not the wife.

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