Contemporary Marital Transformations Analytical Study vis-à-vis Decriminalization of Adultery 

Tanishka Grover
Amity Law School, Noida, India.

Volume II – Issue II, 2020

Section 497 dealing with Adultery under Indian Penal Code was a pre-constitutional law enacted in 1860 by the British. In those times, women were considered vulnerable and they do not have any rights independent of their husbands. The then Law Commission was in favour to include ‘Adultery’ to curb the possibilities of other crimes. Since, the implementation of the Indian Constitution in 1950, the law of adultery has been questioned on various grounds before the Supreme Court of India. The objective of the research is to study the difference in judicial approach and reasonings from the first case against adultery law, Yusuf Abdul Aziz vs. State of Bombay in 1954 to Joseph Shine vs. Union of India in 2018 where finally the offence of adultery was decriminalized. The research focus on the transformation in the society with marriage being a sacrosanct relationship to preferring it to be a more liberal and contractual based relationship. The study will focus on the various factors leading to transformation in the society for marriage as a social institution as well as how judiciary has dealt with those societal reframing. The author presumes to critique the response of the legislature and judiciary to cope with the contemporary society in India. The emerging trends of social institutions apart from marriage in modern India and the legal status of the new institutions in the country are discussed. However, the focus will be social transformation in marital relationships and the impact study of decriminalization of adultery. The study also includes the impact of COVID-19 and national lockdowns on the social institutions and the bonding thereof.

Keywords: Marriage, Adultery, Decriminalization, Social Transformation, New Social Institutions


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