Adultery is not no longer a crime in the armed forces: SC

Even though the Supreme Court made adultery no longer a crime in 2018, the armed forces could still take action against officers and personnel who were caught cheating.

On Tuesday, a five-judge constitution bench led by Justice K M Joseph made it clear that in its September 27, 2018, ruling, the Supreme Court was only concerned with the legality of the adultery laws in Section 497 of the IPC and Section 198(2) of the CrPC, and that it had “no occasion whatsoever” to think about how the Army, Navy, and Air Force Acts would be affected.

“It’s not as if this court was okay with cheating. This court said that it is a civil wrong and will continue to be a reason for getting a divorce,” the bench, which also included Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and CT Ravikumar, said.

The bench said, “Since the scheme of the Acts in the context of Article 33 of the Constitution did not come before this court, we are of the clear view that we must note and clarify that this court’s decision had nothing to do with the effect and operation of the relevant provisions in the Acts that the applicants brought before us.”

“In other words, this court has never been asked to say what sections 45 and 63 of the Army Act and similar parts of other acts mean, and it has never done so on its own. We only want to make this clear and then end the case,” the court said.

The Centre wanted to know more about the 1998 ruling, so they asked the court to hear their case.

The government said that the forces couldn’t go after people who were accused of bad behaviour because those people were bringing up a ruling from 1998 that said Section 497 was unconstitutional.

When she spoke for the government, Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Diwan said that people in the military are in a different class. She said that the 1998 decision did not happen at a place of business where the armed forces work. She said that the armed forces are a unique place of work and that discipline would be lost if personnel and officers can’t be punished for bad behaviour.

In the end, this will lead to a lot of bad behaviour, and forces that are supposed to always work together and have a sense of brotherhood will fall apart. She also said that the court had never thought about such a thing when it threw out the rule because it went against Articles 14, 15, and 21.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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