Respect for sexual autonomy founded on equality between partners: SC

‘Time when wives lived in shadows of husband has gone’
Justice Indu Malhotra in her reading said that section 497 makes to classification. “First is who has the right to prosecute and who can be prosecuted – this is arbitrary. The time when wives lived in the shadows of husband has gone. There is no justification for continuance of the section framed in 1860 to remain on statute,” she said.

Respect for sexual autonomy founded on equality between partners: SC
The top court said society has two standards for judging sexual behaviour. “Make them as objects able to being possessed depriving dignity and privacy to women. Respect for sexual autonomy is founded on equality between partners,” the court said.

‘Law disregards women’s sexual autonomy’

The Supreme Court said that even in the most of private of zones, sexuality could not be dissociated from human existence and that sexual choices of individuals can’t be imposed on others. It said the law disregards sexual autonomy which every woman possess and is subjugated to the will of her spouse”. The court also said the law denies agency to a woman in a matrimonial ties. “Equality of rights and entitlements in a marriage is crucial. Section 497 confers the status of an unequal partner in the society. Curtailing sexual autonomy of a woman is antithetical to the Constitution,” the court said.
‘Adultery law is unconstitutional’
“If Act is treated as an offence it would amount to punish those unhappy in marital relationship. England has never regarded adultery as a crime except for a period of ten years.. Thinking of adultery from a point of view of criminality is a retrogade step.Declare 497 as unconstitutional. Section gives a license to the husband to use the woman as a chattel,” the Supreme Court said.

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