Ayodhya Verdict- A Panacea or Pandora’s Box

  • Himanshu Tyagi

The Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court on 9th November 2019 unanimously delivered the long-awaited historic judgment.[i] The century-old dispute came to a rest when the Apex Court set aside the Allahabad High Court’s verdict[ii] and bestowed the “rightful owner” of the disputed 2.77 acre land to Shri Ram Lalla Virajman. Additionally, the Court allocated 5-acre land at a “prominent site” to the Sunni Waqf Board for a mosque while exercising its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution which “ensure(s) that a wrong committed must be remedied”.

The Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising of Justice S.A Bobde, D.Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer concurringly delivered the judgment in favour of the Hindu Respondents. It held that since the Hindu Respondents have been in exclusive and unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard, where they have continued their worship, they are the legal proprietors. Moreover, the Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the plea of the Appellants as they failed to prove the exclusive possession of the inner courtyard.Also, the significant findings by the Archaeological Survey of India in its 2003 Report were able to conclusively convince the Bench that the Mosque was built over a non-Islamic structure and not on the unadorned land as claimed by the Appellants.

Further, while constituting a Trust to build the Ram Temple on the disputed site, the Apex Court condemned the acts of placing the idol in the inner courtyard of the mosque on the night of 22nd December 1949 and the demolition of the Babri Mosque on 6th December 1992. The judgment labelled these acts as “illegal”, “criminal” and “against the law of the land”. The Bench held that the Places of Worship Act, 1991 was passed to “preserve the religious character of every place of worship as it existed on 15 August 1947.” However the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute was specifically exempted as it was pending before the Court for adjudication.

Furthermore, the Bench reiterated[iii] that the idol of Lord Ram is a juristic person by all means and can enforce its property rights through its shebait. Italso made a clear distinction between ‘occupation’ and ‘possession’ while holding that “mere possession of the land would not ripen into the possessory title. The possessor must have animus possidendi and hold the land adverse to the title of the true owner”.

Despite giving a well-versed reasoning, the judgment can be frowned upon on certain issues.

  • If the event of forceful encroachment of the sanctum sanctorum by the deity in 1949 is illegal, how could the deity be held as a rightful owner of the same?
  • While assertively claiming that the judgment will only address the legal questions as “the Constitution does not make a distinction between faith/ belief of one religion and another”, then why  does it pari passu assert in its reasoning the “undisputed belief and faith in Lord Ram”.
  • Despite the Hindu Respondents only having possession of the outer courtyard and a proclaimed right to worship, why was the entire burden to prove the exclusive possession placed on Muslim Petitioners?
  • another question which arose in the admissibility of this judgment is that should litigants accept an unsigned verdict? It is a fact that no court of law in India accepts a shred of unsigned evidence or affidavit and therefore why should the Litigants in this case oblige?

All these questions and a plethora of several more remained unanswered even after the Review Petition was dismissed. It is true that no one other than Apex Court has to answer these queries sooner or later.

Moreover, the author of the 1045 page judgment still remains a mystery, as the Supreme Court decided to keep the identity of the Judge hidden. This is highly unusual and in a departure from convention.  The judgment also came with an addendum which summarised the findings of the Court but who penned it, is still a question mark. However, one can easily adduce through the writing technique and the uses of specific fonts that the judgment was penned by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and the author of addendum was Justice Ashok Bhushan.

  •  
  • A large section of the society has accepted the judgment with open arms, as they will get to witness their lifelong dream of “Bhavya Ram Mandir”. But,the aggrieved party has termed this judgment as “solomonic” in which “faith has won over the facts”.

The Apex Court has done its job by conclusively deciding the matter and not leaving room for any future disputes. Now it is our duty “to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities”.[iv]


[i] M. Siddiq (D) thr. L.Rs. v. Mahant Suresh Das and Ors. 2019 (6) ALLMR 482, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1440

[ii] Gopal Singh Visharad & Ors. v. Zahoor Ahmad & Ors. 2010 SCC OnLine 1935.

[iii] Vidya Varuthi Thirtha v. Balusami Ayyar  (1922) 24 BOMLR 629.

[iv] Article 51-A(e), The Constitution of India, 1950

The Sabarimala Temple Case: Devotion to Lord or Deviation from Law

by Abhiraj Das

It is an old saying that ‘sometimes we enjoy the comfort of the old shoe so much that we fail to notice the hole in it’. The Sabarimala Temple issue is no different, where menstruating women between 10 to 50 years of age are not allowed to offer prayer to Lord Aiyappa, the deity of the temple. This has been in practice for such a long period that even women themselves are not very much inclined towards entering the temple. But those women, in this age group, who want to go in there and offer prayer to the deity, are forced to keep out of the temple. Well, this certainly subjects them to discrimination and violates their fundamental rights to equality and the right to religious practices[i].

The issue was first raised before the Kerala High Court in S. Mahendran v. The Secretary, Travancore Devaswom Board, Thiruvananthpuram and others[ii], wherein it was sought by the petitioner that section 3(B) of the Kerala Hindu Places of the Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry)Rules, 1965 be declared unconstitutional for violative of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15, 25 and of the fundamental duty under article 51(A)(e) of the Constitution, as it provided legal sanction to the “century-old” custom which prohibited the entry of such female devotees who are in the age group of 10 to 50 years in the temple. The prayer was also made to the Court to direct the admittance of those women in the Temple. However, the High Court upheld both the practice and the law as valid.

A writ petition under Article 32 was preferred before the Hon’ble Supreme Court by the India Young Lawyers Association in 2006. The three judges bench referred the matter, after framing the issues, to the five-judges constitutional bench. Supreme Court disposed of the matter in September 2018 with the ratio of 4:1[iii] and did away with the conservative, meaningless and regressive practice and allowed women of all ages to enter the Temple and offer worship to Lord Aiyappa. The majority were of the view that Sabarimala Temple’s denominational freedom under Article 26 is subject to the State’s social reform mandate under Article 25(2)(b). It was also held that physiological characteristics have no significance on the entitlements guaranteed by the Constitution. Justice Indu Malhotra dissented and held that the Court must respect a religious denomination’s right to manage their internal affairs, regardless of whether their practices are rational or logical.

The reason menstruating women are forced to keep out is that the people believe that the deity Lord Aiyappa in the Sabarimala Temple has the form of a Naisthik Brahmachari and that the presence of such women in the temple would lead to distraction of the deity from celibacy and austerity that he observed. The oath of celibacy of the deity is understandable, but I wonder how the presence of such women would pose the likelihood of the deity deviating from celibacy. Whether any deity can even feel such enticements? If this belief is to be accepted then what difference will remain between a human and deity?

Sometimes our blind and unquestioningly-following conduct allows disparity and vices to grow into society. Chief Justice Dipak Mishra wrote in the judgment that it is not faith and religion which allows any discrimination but dogmatic religious practices and patriarchal prejudices abrogate the very principle of non-discrimination and equality. Supreme Court has once also held that the religious practices and affairs “are not sacrosanct as there may be many ill-practices like superstitions which may, in due course of time, become mere addition to the basic precepts of that religion.[iv]

When any individual right stands up against the religious practices and beliefs, it is always one of the arguments, inter alia, of the “religious” sides that the practice has been an essential part of the religion. However, in the instant case, Supreme Court said that the Devaswom Board themselves had taken the stand before the Kerala High Court that in earlier times such women used to visit the temple for five days every month for the first rice feeding ceremony of their children. Moreover, Justice Kurian Josef in the Triple Talaq[v] case has made it clear that just because any practice has continued for a long period does not make it valid per se.

These practices and customs need to be regulated and curbed by the legislation, as has been done in the past viz. to disallow Sati.[vi] But when the laws made are such that they instead of curtailing these ill customs, provide them with legal backing and allow these discriminatory practices to flourish, the final words of the judiciary have respected the rights of the individual as enshrined in the Constitution. Recently, in 2016, the Bombay High Court showed that judicial heroism when it declared the law preventing the entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of Hazi Ali Dargah, Bombay as violative of women’s fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and hence, unconstitutional.[vii] This was affirmed by the Supreme Court.[viii] This Sabarimala judgment is also one of the landmarks judgments which upheld the constitutionally guaranteed individual rights over age-old patriarchal, prejudicial and discriminatory religious beliefs.

Kerala boasts of having the highest literacy rate in the country[ix] while at the same time the people of Kerala (including women) are out on the street protesting against the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgment and stopping any such women from climbing the hills and entering the temple. Women who have dared to exercise their fundamental right and honor the judgment by entering the Temple and offering worship to the deity are afraid of being attacked and killed by the violent protesters.[x] After the visit of women in the temple, a purification ritual was held.[xi] This action certainly associates “impurity” with the dignity of women which is again a violation of their fundamental right against untouchability, and also is a clear contempt of the Court’s order. The Supreme Court has recently in a review petition referred this and related issues to a seven-judges bench[xii], in a minority decision authored by Justices Nariman and Chandrachud against referring the matter to a larger bench and also emphatically maintained that the ban shall remain stayed and that the state government shall follow the court’s order.

However, the women attempting to enter the temple are still being mishandled by the others. Recently, one such woman was attacked with chili powder.[xiii]

It appears that in our hyper-sensitive and stringent faith & devotion to Lords, we don’t realize that we start deviating from the laws. Supreme Court has only lifted the ban and allowed the entry of women in that age-group in the temple. The order does not compel anyone to enter or visit the temple. It just says that if any individual wants to visit the temple and offer prayer to the deity, s/he cannot be prevented from doing the same. It ought to be understood that those women who believe that the celibacy of deity would be disturbed by their presence may still choose to not enter the temple but they cannot impede others who wish to worship from entering the temple.

Constitution imposes a fundamental duty on the citizens to develop the scientific temper, humanism, and spirit of inquiry and reform. Ambedkar had once said, “we are having this constitutional liberty for reforming our social system, which is full of inequality, discrimination and other things which conflict with our Fundamental Rights”. I believe that howsoever old a practice is, if it violates the fundamental right of even one individual, it should be struck down.

References-


[i] Constitution of India, 1950.

[ii] S. Mahendran v. The Secretary, Travancore Devaswom Board, Thiruvananthpuram&Ors., AIR 1993 Kerala 42.

[iii] India Young Lawyer Assn v. State of Kerala, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1690.

[iv]Durgah Committee, Ajmer v. Syed Hussain Ali, (1962) 1 SCR 383.

[v]ShayaraBano v. Union of India, (2017) 9 SCC 1.

[vi] The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, No. 3, Acts of Parliament, 1988, (India).

[vii]Dr.NoorjehanSafia Niaz &Ors. v. State of Maharashtra &Ors., 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 5394.

[viii] Haji Ali Dargah Trust v. NoorjehanSafia Niaz, (2016) 16 SCC 788.

[ix]Top 10 Highest Literate State in India, Census 2011, https://www.census2011.co.in/facts/highstateliteracy.html

[x]Women who entered Sabarimala, The Indian Express, (February 25, 2019),

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sabarimala-woman-entry-bindu-ammini-kanakadurga-kerala-5549374/

[xi]2 Women quietly visit Sabarimala, ‘purification’ and protest follow,The Times of India, (Jan 3, 2019), https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-women-quietly-visit-sabarimala-purification-protest-follow/articleshow/67356677.cms

[xii]KantaruEajeevaru v. Indian Young Lawyer Assoc., Review petition (civil) no. 3358/2018.

[xiii] Sabarimala case: Woman seeking entry attacked with chilli, pepper spray in Ernakulam”, the Economic Times, (November 26, 2019), https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/sabarimala-case-woman-seeking-entry-attacked-with-chilli-pepper-spray-in-ernakulam/videoshow/72238183.cms

the author is a student of Gujarat National Law University (3rd Year)

Judicial Activism: Where to draw the Lakshman Rekha?

  • Raj Shekhar

“Instead of re-ploughing the well-worked terrain which ranges justiciability against non-justiciability, the real challenge is to formulate a democratically justifiable role for the courts.”
-Prof. Sandra Fredman

Be it the challenge to Section 377[1] of the Indian Penal Code or one of the recent dicta on the status of transgenders, the judiciary has been actively indulged in what the world calls – Judicial Activism. What the critics of judicial activism have failed to visualize is the need for judicial intervention which arose due to the legislative/ executive inaction and inefficiency. The motive of this blog is not to go into goods and bads of decisions but to bring forth an argument which speaks in favour of judicial activism and also analyse the point at which there is a need to draw Lakshman rekha[2][ so as to maintain the integrity of judicial activism.

Article 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution provide the Indian Courts the power of taking up Suo Moto Cases. Also in the landmark judgement of Bandhua Mukhti Morcha v. Union of India[3][AK1] , where for the very first time the idea of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was introduced and the locus standi requirement was liberated and since then the Indian Judicial System has constantly seen an increase in its power.

After playing a largely “interpretative” role for a decade after independence, the Supreme Court, starting from the controversial 1970s era has been the major force acting against the overreach of power exercised by legislative and executive bodies. Judicial activism was indeed a necessity to make sure that an Authoritarian Government could not use the constitutional and legislative functions to dilute the spirit of democracy. The first instance of judicial activism was the laying down of the ‘basic structure’ doctrine in Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru and Ors. v. State of Kerala and Anr[4], which was an extremely constructive step to bring amendments to constitution under the judicial ambit and thus, in turn, lead to the widening of the scope of the right to life and liberty by directly bringing in it with contrast with the non-justiciable directive principles of state policy such as those of promoting education and the duty to preserve the environment, the decade of the 70s saw the judiciary play a highly pro-active role in ensuring that India progresses to become a thriving democracy and ensuring its subsistence in the years to come.

The most common argument that we witness against judicial activism is the fact that it leads to the undermining of the people’s voice that is the democratically elected members of the parliament. The logical explanation of this argument is that judicial activism leads to certain results which upset the balance of power between the three democratic organs of – legislature, executive, and the judiciary. However, we need to understand that such logical arguments are based on the assumption that the other two organs of democracy are performing their duties ideally and judiciary is incapable of intervening in such matters and furthering the interests of democracy.

The assumption that the Parliament and Executive make policy decisions which are strongly backed at points by effective participation of citizens is a completely flawed idea. Further, the belief that the judiciary has a role in ensuring that there is effective participation from interest groups is completely irrelevant and baseless. Further, Professor Waldron’s[5] argument assumes that judicial intervention means that judges have the final say on the policy issue. The judges can, however, promote decision making relating to policy issues without being the ultimate decision-maker.

Though the Indian Judicial System is considered the progenitor of Judicial Activism, its traces can be drawn from the Hart v. Fuller Debate[6] and its close analysis with the cases of Riggs v. Palmer[7] and Olef v. Hodapp[8]. The former being a case of judicial activism, where morality and laws were contrasted and the principle of – “No one shall benefit from his own wrong” was instituted. However, the contrast is visible from the latter case where the jury was of the opinion that law and morality shall not be contrasted and laws shall be read as they are rather than interpreting them. The legacy of Indian Judicial Activism has formed the very bedrock of South African Jurisprudence. However, when it comes to drawing the line up to which judicial activism should continue, the South African decisions and judgments can be used to determine where the courts must draw – Lakshman Rekha.

The best example is the City of Johannesburg v Rand Properties (Pty) Ltd[9] which involved a question to the authority of the state regarding the eviction of inmates of a ramshackle building in the area of central Johannesburg. Since right to housing is a fundamental right was evidently being denied, the judiciary ordered the state and the evicted inmates to “engage with each other meaningfully … and in the light of the values of the Constitution, the constitutional and statutory duties of the municipality and the duties of citizens concerned”[10] to resolve the dispute. Thus, the judiciary, by its positive involvement, had made sure that these deliberations were on a level playing field, i.e. not dominated by any side as the final result of the deliberations was addressable to the radar of scrutiny by the Court. By doing this, while the court ensured that executive inaction was not left unchecked, the final decision itself was left to the executive but subject to judicial intervention.

This case clearly shows how it is possible for judiciary to scrutinize the working of other bodes without actually hampering their powers in any way. This precedent and many others have a backing from the writings of Professor Roach[11] who is of the opinion that the judiciary should not be actively indulged in policy creation to enforce rights, but must rather allow the government to frame it along with a plan of action. The finalization of this plan of action shall only be deemed to be complete once it has passed the judicial scanners of inaction or overreach.

Once policies are framed and tabled before the judiciary, it is to be interfered with by the judiciary in a very restrictive manner, using the principle of deference[12]. Abiding by or going by this principle, the judiciary, while it evaluates plans of action (or inaction), should change the policy or rules framed only when the reasons provided are unreasonable. A court should only see whether the reasons provided by the executive justify its decision and such comparison should not be in a way as to see if the court would have arrived at the same conclusive decision. This test should be applied not only at that time when the policy is being tested by the judiciary but also by courts to determine if legislative inaction is justified and if justified, it is its duty to determine as up to what extent.

While there is indeed a chance of judicial activism being misused by judges to suit their own interests or those of their community, however, the Supreme Court has in the past penalized people on instances of such misuse. The solution does not lie in throwing away the baby with the bathwater. The mere fact that there exists a chance of judicial over-activism cannot be deemed to be a strong argument against the incorporation of judicial activism. Judicial activism, keeping in view the ideals of democracy, is, in fact, necessary to ensure that the voice of the feeble is not suppressed by those of plutocracy and the strong. Stating in terms of Marxian thinking – it is a mechanism to ensure that the bourgeois doesn’t dominate the proletariat. Indeed, on many historic instances, timely interventions by the Indian Judiciary, like the case of Indira Nehru Gandhi vs Shri Raj Narain & Anr ,[13] has helped democracy sustain in our country despite time to time failures of the other organs of democracy and has helped us to maintain the status of India is the home of judicial activism to its utmost true sense.

ENDNOTES-


[1] Unnatural offences.—Whoever voluntarily has carnal inter­course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with impris­onment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

[2] In some later versions of Ramayana, is a line drawn by Lakshmana around the dwelling he shares with his brother Rama and Rama’s wife Sita at Panchavati in the forest of Dandakaranya. The line is meant to protect Sita, while he is away searching for Rama.

[3] Bandhua Mukhti Morcha v. Union of India (1997) 10 SCC 549.

[4] Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru and Ors. v. State of Kerala and Anr (1973) 4 SCC 225.

[5] Jeremy Waldron (/ˈwɔːldrən/; born 13 October 1953) is a New Zealand professor of law and philosophy.

[6] Cane, P. ed., 2010. The Hart-Fuller debate in the twenty-first century. Bloomsbury Publishing.

[7] Riggs v. Palmer ‎115 NY 506 (1889).

[8] Oleff v. Hodapp (1935), 129 Ohio St. 432.

[9] City of Johannesburg v Rand Properties (Pty) Ltd [2007] 2 All SA 459 (SCA).

[10] Bamforth, N. and Leyland, P. eds., 2013. Accountability in the contemporary constitution. Oxford University Press.

[11] Kent Roach, a Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.

[12]https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10854681.2006.11426468, accessed on 25/12/19, time 9:38pm.

[13] Indira Nehru Gandhi vs Shri Raj Narain & Anr ,1975 AIR 1590.


 [AK1]First case was Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar.

Further, Justice PN Bhagvati elaborated upon the same in some other case. (SP Gupta if I’m not wrong)

The author is a 1st Year Student of NUSRL, Ranchi

Decriminalization of Adultery: Not a Licence to Be Adulterous

  • Shivanshu K. Srivastava

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India gave a historic judgment in the case of Joseph Shine v. Union of India[i] wherein it decriminalized the British colonial-era provision that made Adultery a punishable offence under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Strictly speaking, the penal law on Adultery was against the interest of both the husband and the wife. Section 497 provided punishment for men committing adultery while a woman who was in pari delicto deemed to be innocent. It was also against the dignity of women since it regarded their husband as the master of his wife and objectified women as being the property of their husbands. This was ipso facto an unreasonable classification that was erroneously overlooked by the judiciary for many decades.
In this era when we talk about gender equality and have debates over the sine qua non of enacting gender-neutral laws, we need to have an open deliberation over the sexual autonomy of persons.

The previous stand of the court:

Time and again the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code has been challenged. Earlier the Supreme Court held that decriminalizing Adultery would imperil the sanctity of marriage which may adversely affect the society.


In one of its earliest judgments on Adultery in the case of Yusuf Abdul Aziz v. State of Bombay[ii], the Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code. This was the first time when a petition was filed in the court challenging the constitutional validity of the offence of Adultery. It was contended by the petitioner that Section 497 was against the spirit of the equality clause enshrined in the Constitution of India. However, the Supreme Court rejected these contentions of the petitioner.


In Sowmithri Vishnu v. Union of India[iii] the Supreme Court observed that Adultery is not violative of the Constitution, and the consent of the wife is irrelevant. However, this case is significant in that it led to the development of the factors that eventually resulted in the decriminalization of Adultery. Similar views were expressed by the court in V. Revathi v. Union of India[iv] wherein the petition was dismissed on similar grounds.
Although in Sowmithri Vishnu’s petition the court maintained the validity of the said section, it accepted the fact that the archaic notion that it is the man who is always the seducer in adulterous acts and never the woman may have changed with the ever-changing society. This suggested that it was for the legislature and not the judiciary to decide whether the society has actually undergone any such change and to make amendments in the section if required.


We live in a dynamic society and the collective conscience of the society is bound to change with time. A focused observance of the present society reveals that the age-old notion of man being the seducer in each and every case is pro tanto unfounded.

The paradox with Section 497:

Under the erstwhile section punishing adultery, neither the husband could institute criminal proceedings against his wife who had had an illicit relationship with another man, nor could the wife prosecute her husband who committed the same offence with another woman. It was only that husband whose wife had been adulterous with another man, who was considered the actual victim. In the same way, it was the man who had committed adultery with another’s wife and not the wife herself, who could be held guilty and accordingly subjected to imprisonment up to five years, or fine or both under Section 497. This reflected an obnoxious idea that the wife is the property of the husband and hence she could not be physically trespassed upon without the husband’s consent. This, in turn, raises many socio-moral objections.


Firstly, it indicates that if the husband consents upon his wife sleeping with another man, then it would not amount to an offence under this section. The wife’s consent is irrelevant as far as this section is concerned, and she could only take the help of Section 376 (Punishment for rape) in case she had not consented.


Secondly, this section would not be attracted if the husband had sexual intercourse with an unmarried or divorced woman, let alone the fact that the wife could not prosecute the husband for the same. It was as if the husband had a free licence to commit adultery with an unmarried or divorced woman.
Thus, Section 497 was unjustifiable for both the husband as well as the wife.

Decriminalization of Adultery:

In Joseph Shine v. Union of India a bench of five judges of the Supreme Court finally overruled its previous judgments on Adultery and struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code and S. 198 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, as unconstitutional. The decision was taken in the light of various sources like the precedents of previous cases, recommendations of the Law Commission and the position of Adultery in many other countries. The court eventually concluded that Section 497 was in violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.


The court in this case further noted that the right to live with human dignity under Article 21 embraces the “right not to be subjected to public censure and punishment by the State except where absolutely necessary”. Therefore, Section 497 was violative of Article 21 as well.

Conclusion:


On a comprehensive reading of the judgment given in Joseph Shine’s case, it becomes clear that it is completely in favour of the society and not against the institution of marriage as was wrongly depicted by some people, including few media houses. By rendering this judgment, the court has not licensed the commission of Adultery but has only decriminalized it. Adultery still exists as a civil wrong and a suit for divorce or judicial separation can be filed on the ground of Adultery. Thus, it can be fairly concluded that the paradox and irrationality formerly associated with the offence of Adultery has now been removed while the necessary civil consequences have been left untouched.

The author is in the 4th year, pursuing B.A LL.B (Hons.) from Faculty of Law, Lucknow University.

ENDNOTES:


[i] 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1676

[ii] AIR 1954 SC 321

[iii] AIR 1985 SC 1618

[iv] AIR 1988 SC 835