• In September 2018, Supreme Court struck down section 497 of IPC (Indian Penal Code), which deals with adultery. This move received support and criticism as well. People are debating whether adultery should be a criminal offence or not.

Why adultery was decriminalised in India:

  • There are several loopholes in Section 497 of IPC (Indian Penal Code). The main loophole is that it punishes only men that commit adultery, and women are treated as victims and innocent. This is discriminatory on the basis of gender.
  • And another important loophole is it considers a woman as the property of her husband. This law states that a man can file a case on the person that has an illicit affair with his wife, without his permission.
  • This law punishes only those who have an illegal relationship with married women. If a married man has an affair with an unmarried woman, he cannot be punished under this law.
  • This law interferes with personal lives.
  • Considering all these reasons, the Supreme court struck down the 158-year-old law by stating that adultery is a civil wrong and should not be a criminal offence. However one can opt for divorce if his/her life partner commits adultery.

In Favor – Yes – Adultery should be criminalized:

  • Deceiving and cheating are punishable by law in India under section 420 of IPC (Indian Penal Code). Adultery is nothing but cheating a life partner. The other person in the relationship goes through a lot of trauma, and hence adultery should also be punished.
  • If one commits adultery, the marriage is already broken and hence it threatens the institution of marriage. It’s very important to protect the purity of marriage institutions in society. And hence adultery should be made a criminal offence.
  • Fear of law can deter people from committing adultery.
  • To protect the moral values of society, we should take the help of the law.
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Against – No – Adultery should not be criminalized:

  • If people are punished for adultery, there will be very slim chances of reconciliation. People do mistakes, and a lot of couples have had a happy life after going through a rough phase of adultery with the help of counselling and understanding. punishing and sending the person to jail will only increase hate and anger.
  • Families will be broken if one of the parents sends the other one to jail. It creates a lot of mental trauma for the children involved.
  • Punishing people under adultery law impacts their reputation forever. They will be labelled as a cheater and will have a tough time living a happy and faithful life.
  • Law was there until recently, but there are many illegal affairs in the country. So, the law couldn’t succeed in reducing the number of adultery cases.
  • Law should not interfere in personal lives.


If adultery is a punishable offence, both men and women that commit it should be punished. However, it is much better if the law doesn’t interfere with personal lives. Fear of law cannot bring love to a life partner. It is much better to come out of a loveless marriage than to send the adulterer to jail with the hope that their relationship will be back to normal.

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  • Vedisha, Apr 17, 2023 @ 7:20 pm Reply

    Adultery should be criminalised and both the creatures should be punished by punishment given by their spouses. It may be divorce sending their children with their honest spouse with lifetime compensation. They shouldn’t be allowed to marry again.

  • Hector Luis, May 3, 2021 @ 1:04 am Reply

    4/5 of the against-arguments mentioned above could also be said for a lot of other offenses. I bet you if most people couldn’t be able to control other illegal urges they too would be legal.

  • Denny David, Sep 30, 2020 @ 9:26 pm Reply

    No, It should not be criminalised, for the reason that when a man and women enters into a contracted union (marriage), they are supposed to keep their sexual integrity intact, that’s what our religion, social norms , and law says. It’s not just about the enjoyment, it’s about human feelings of love ,trust, security which are involved. One cannot switch over to another partner just because he has got bored with his life partner,
    Does a man or a woman switch over to other’s parents because they are bored of them. One may defend it by saying that relationship between parents and a child is that of blood. Well, husband- wife connection is much more than that of blood, it’s that of souls. It’s all about creating life through love, unlike animals. And that’s what make human life distinct. Also the question that is obvious, why all the the adulterers have to hide their act from others if they think that adultery is normal, while a married couple indulging in the sexual act don’t carry any guilt about it. It’s difficult to explain,some divine explanation may satisfy .
    But yes, the point is what should the other partner who is suffering from the cheating do? He or she cannot make his ‘house’ a ‘home’ without love. There is no sense staying together.
    Well going for a law suit will not solve any problem, one’s own life is more important than anything in this world.
    Respect your own self, and depart ways. Hence criminalising adultery will not solve a problem.
    Loving one’s own self, and parting ways would be a better option.

  • vijay bhise, Dec 19, 2018 @ 10:49 am Reply

    well i think adultery should be criminalised . as we are being leaving in a society and our culture do not accept it . as of now day by day many rape cases are coming in front.infact if adultery is discriminalised again the rates of rapes ,murders cases of woman will per our constitution gives an equal opportunity to each and every man and woman, then the law also should be equal to all of them.if any man found guilty in adultery then he is punished,same the woman should be punished.discriminalising the adultery is dropping our moral walues of our culture. due to this there will be no positive and trust bonding between the couples.infact some new and strict law should be bring by the govt. if not many cases will be risen in the upcoming days…..

    • Karolina, Sep 29, 2020 @ 7:22 am Reply

      YES it is true…i support your explanation.

    • alok, Jul 7, 2022 @ 1:07 pm Reply

      You are 100% correct..

  • Tinku paul, Dec 11, 2018 @ 7:25 pm Reply

    According to me adultery should not be criminalised because it is personal matter to whom he/she will go and they will enjoy. In a democratic country everybody has right to love and choose their partner as per their choice they can stay together , they can live together , law should not interfere. Actually marriage means not only male and female have physical relation it’s a bondage if somebody in trouble they want to take care each other , somebody ill they take care each other .So inspite of a married man or woman they have desire to go to others they and they know he/she has relationship with others then there will be no faith each and other then they don’t want to stay together and may be marriage can break. So it’s personal choice should not be criminalised

  • ASHISH SANWAL, Dec 7, 2018 @ 11:37 am Reply

    in my point of view adultery should be criminalised. it is written that the cases of adultery are increasing and law couldnt succeed in reducing them. it doest mean that we should decriminalized it. rape cases are also increasing , in busy localities women are being raped and murdered , Does it mean that we should decriminalized the law concerning it. NO , we should relook into the law modify it according to the requirements of a balanced society .

    • Team GD Ideas, Dec 9, 2018 @ 1:22 pm Reply

      That’s a good point!

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