A woman cannot be prosecuted for adultery in India, according to the law. A man who has consensual sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without his consent can be prosecuted for adultery, but neither a cheating husband nor a cheating wife can. If you want to take legal action against your cheating spouse or wife, Legal Resolved can help. They will give you the best legal guidance on how to proceed with your case.




It is stated in Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, that-

"Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows, or has reason to believe, is the wife of another man, without that man's consent or connivance, and such sexual intercourse does not amount to rape, is guilty of adultery, and shall be punished by imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to five years, or by fine, or both. In this situation, the wife is not considered an accomplice."

The Indian Constitution has traditionally been described as progressive, yet despite numerous court rulings, the Indian Penal Code is still governed by outdated regulations, particularly the Adultery Law. When the law is read literally, it states that women are not charged with adultery even if they were present during the IPC Bare Act. As a result, there have been claims that the law favours women and protects them by prosecuting only the men who commit the crime.


The law's fundamental issue is that the adulterer's wife is barred from pursuing legal action against her husband. For example, if Rahul is married to Shikha and Shikha has an extramarital affair with Raj, Rahul can initiate legal action against Raj but not Shikha under Section 497 of the Act. Furthermore, if Rahul and Shikha are married and Rahul has an extramarital affair with Janvi, Shikha has no legal recourse against Rahul or Janvi. As a result, the Indian Penal Code (ipc 34) only prohibits one type of adultery.


The law has long faced opposition since it regards women to be merely the property of their husbands. Where the perpetrator is punished by the husband rather than the wife. In the case of Sowmithri Vishnu v. Union of India, the Court found that the law was discriminatory towards women. Sowmithri was not charged with adultery in this case, but the adulterous was.


Another key issue is that the law is not gender-biased because it prohibits a woman from pursuing legal action against her husband for adultery. As a result, it is impossible to infer that the law favors women when she is unable to sue her husband or the woman with whom her husband committed adultery. When a wife is cheated by her husband under Section 497 of the IPC, her hands are tied, and she has no legal recourse. However, there are always other options in the law under the Hindu Marriage Act and the Criminal Procedural Code, where adultery is a ground for divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act.


To avoid the legal complexity that come with the process of divorce when your husband has cheated on you, contact the experienced Legal Resolved lawyers for further information or legal assistance.


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