New regulations on adultery: Is cheating in marriage about to be classified as a criminal act?


A government panel has made a surprising recommendation to keep Section 497 of the IPC, which deals with adultery, in the new Bharatiya Nyaya Samhita. This goes against the Supreme Courtís 2018 judgement that adultery was not a crime in India.

The panel proposes a new adultery law that would make both men and women equally responsible for the offence. The panel suggests a revised adultery law that would treat the offence as "gender-neutral"
The main reason behind this suggestion is to safeguard the "sacred institution of marriage."

The Bharatiya Nyaya Samhita, which was launched by Home Minister Amit Shah in September, has been examined by the panel, which has found some flaws in its draft. For example, the panel noticed the lack of provisions for sexual offences without consent against people of all genders, and also animal abuse. Even though the Supreme Courtís 2018 decision on Section 377 of the IPC, the panel stressed that Section 377 still covers forced sexual acts with adults, different kinds of such acts with minors, and animal abuse.

Congress MP P Chidambaram disagreed, saying that the government should not meddle in couplesí lives. He gave three main arguments, including the claim that the proposed bills are just copies of existing laws.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Samhita is one of three bills that aim to replace the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act. Sent to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs in August for more review, the outcome of these proposed changes is still a matter of discussion among lawmakers and legal experts.