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Is Extra Marital Affair Legal In India?

See, extramarital affairs are not illegal in India. The adultery laws of India do seem to be changing with time. Before 2018, under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, this act of extramarital affair was equivalent to a crime. Though only men could be charged in case they had relations with somebody else’s wife. This law has derived from old societal norms that are very different today.

What Was The Supreme Court Judgment of 2018 All About?


On September 27, 2018, the Indian Supreme Court decriminalized adultery. This change was due to the need to treat everyone equally, regardless of gender, and to respect personal freedoms. The court had held that the old law was unfair since it considered women as victims of their husbands and further victimized only men unfairly.

That means after adultery ceases to be a crime, but it no longer does, in any case, attract a jail term. It is one of the valid grounds for seeking divorce in every part of the world that practices marriage. This explains the point that, though one will not be convicted under adultery, it may have legal implications if proved so.

But even after all these changes in laws and their implementation, people in India have the same views about this extramarital relationship as before. Extra-marital affairs are still looked down upon, and people involved often face negative judgment and exclusion from society.

As much as the law has changed, it has also brought about a change towards men and women. The effect of such laws as Section 497 in the past was considered along the lines of protecting women, and at the same time, they had to portray women as always on the receiving end, and that women are incapable of making informed decisions. This law maintains common sense in the roles that men and women have been playing in marriages for centuries. At the same time, removing it helps acknowledge that everyone, be they men or women, has rights to their choices.

What Is Going On In Other Countries?

Most countries no longer consider adultery as the norm and, in fact, consider it a matter of privacy that should not be sanctioned by law. Most see it as a private issue that should not be punished by law. India’s decision to decriminalize adultery is just a reflection of these global trends. It reveals that legal systems in most countries are starting to give way to sorting out such personal issues between the parties involved rather than the government.


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