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Adultery verdict: Supreme Court declares Section 497 unconstitutional

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Sep 27 : The Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised adultery after striking down a British era law, Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, terming it as unconstitutional, archaic and manifestly arbitrary, with one judge saying women can’t be treated as “chattel”.

“Mere adultery cannot be a crime, unless it attracts the scope of Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC and equality is the governing principle of a system. Husband is not the master of the wife,”Chief Justice Dipak Misra said while reading out the verdict on the petition challenging the validity of Section 497 (Adultery) of IPC.

“Mere adultery can’t be a criminal offence. It is a matter of privacy. Husband is not the master of wife. Women should be treated with equality along with men,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.

Most countries have abolished adultery as a crime. “It shouldn’t be a criminal offence, other people are also involved in it,” Misra said, reading out the judgement, also on behalf of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar.

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, an adultery law dating to the British era, terming it unconstitutional, archaic and manifestly arbitrary, with one judge saying women can’t be treated as “cattle”.

The Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, along with Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra pronounced the judgment on the validity of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which penalises married men for adultery if they have a sexual relationship with a married woman without the consent or connivance of her husband.

“If Act is treated as an offence it would amount to punish those unhappy in marital relationship. England has never regarded adultery as a crime except for a period of ten years.. Thinking of adultery from a point of view of criminality is a retrogade step.Declare 497 as unconstitutional. Section gives a license to the husband to use the woman as a chattel,” the Supreme Court said.

The Supreme Court said that mere adultery can’t be a crime.

“Adulteror is made the culprit. Command goes into the core of privacy. It’s discriminatory. Adultery as a crime is not more relevant in China, Brazil and European countries.When parties to marriage lose moral commitment in a relationship it creates a dent on marriage. Matter of privacy. Theories of deterrent will not save the situation. Adultery in situations may not be a cause of unhappy marriage, it may be the result,” CJI Misra said.

“Equality is the governing principle of a system. Husband is not the master of the wife: CJI Dipak Misra reading out the verdict on the petition challenging the validity of Section 497 (Adultery) of IPC

Legal subordination of one sex by another is wrong. Social progression of women & views of Justice Nariman in Triple Talaq case considered. Adultery can be grounds for dissolution of marriage: CJI reading verdict on petition challenging validity of Section 497 (Adultery) of IPC

Parameters of fundamental rights should include rights of women. Individual dignity important in a sanctified society.System can’t treat women unequally. Women can’t be asked to think what a society desires, CJI reading verdict on petition challenging validity of Sec 497 Adultery.

‘Adultery offends the dignity of a woman’
CJI Dipak Misra further said “ judges have analysed the social progression. Dealt with progressive jurisprudence on woman’s dignity. Adultery is arbitrary and it offends the dignity if a woman”. CJI further said the section “curtails the dignity of women, creates a dent on her dignity, Tantamounts to subordination of women”.

CJI starts reading verdict on adultery law
The Constitution includes you and me, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said while reading out verdict on adultery law. “Essentiality of rights of women gets requisite space in the living room of a building. Any system treating a woman with indignity invites the wrath of Constitution. Woman can’t be asked to think how a man or society desires. Husband is not the master. Equality is the governing parameter,” he said.

Three-judge bench to pronounce verdict on namaaz in mosques
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer will pronounce the verdict, which had reserved it on July 20. If the court concludes that a larger bench needs to review the 1994 decision, the Supreme court will have to deliver this case before taking up the land dispute appeal for a final decision.

“Equality is the governing principle of a system. Husband is not the master of the wife: CJI Dipak Misra reading out the verdict on the petition challenging the validity of Section 497 (Adultery) of IPC.

In 2003, Supreme Court’s retired judge V Malimath, who was tasked to recommend reforms in the criminal justice system, told the government that adultery should be made gender-neutral. But the government did not accept the change.

Adultery wasn’t listed as a crime in the first draft of the colonial-era penal law proposed by Thomas Babington Macaulay-led panel back in 1837 but another commission, a decade later, pushed for its inclusion.

 

 

Business

‘Corporate vultures eying small banks, merge Lakshmi Vilas Bank with govt bank’

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Sensex equity Nifty

Chennai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should take a prompt and correct action of merging the 93-year-old Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) with a nationalised bank, a top leader of one of the largest bank unions said.

“There are a number of corporate vultures that are circling the small-old generation private banks for a take over. These regional banks have their own tradition and culture and taking them beyond certain borders and expanding their size will result in failure,” All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told IANS.

It is not known who brings the suitors for the south-based, regional old-generation private banks and for what purpose.

Referring to the voting out of seven Directors of the Lakshmi Vilas Bank, and the statutory auditors by a group of shareholders at annual general meeting held on September 25, Venkatachalam said it is time for the RBI to act quickly in the interests of depositors.

“The RBI should take necessary steps to merge the LVB with a public sector bank to protect the depositors, rather than looking out for suitors who may not be suited for the bank’s culture,” he said.

According to Venkatachalam, banks like the LVB, Karur Vysya Bank (KVB), Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB), Karnataka Bank and others are largely regional banks steeped in their own tradition.

“Expanding them into unknown territories would result in trouble for them,” he said.

Citing the case of Kerala-based small-sized Dhanlaxmi Bank, Venkatachalam recalled that around 2008-2012, it made a loss of over Rs 850 crore as the top management brought it to serious problems in the name of modernising it.

He said with the intervention of the RBI, a change in top management, and strengthening its capital base, etc. and inducting some reputed people on the bank’s Board, Dhanlaxmi Bank turned around and earned profit.

As a part of turnaround, the bank closed down many of its branches in north Indian states, where inadequate controls landed it in problems, he said.

Venkatachalam said for the past two years, the Dhanlaxmi Bank is making profits with the profit for last fiscal being Rs 65 crore – the highest since the bank’s inception.

He pointed out the Kumbakonam-based City Union Bank, which is operating steadily, as an example of a well-run, small-sized old generation bank which was started in 1904.

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India

Agri laws are death sentence for farmers: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress party is also protesting against the farm laws across the country.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Sep 28 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that the agriculture-related laws are a “death sentence” for farmers whose voice has been crushed both inside and outside Parliament.

“The agriculture laws are a death sentence to our farmers. Their voice is crushed in Parliament and outside. Here is proof that democracy in India is dead,” he said on Twitter.

Gandhi tagged a news report along with his tweet that claimed that Opposition members demanding a division of votes were on their seats when the farm bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha, while the government said they were not.

Gandhi and his Congress party have been demanding that the farm legislations be withdrawn as they are not beneficial for farmers, who will be enslaved at the hands of private players and big businesses.

The Congress party is also protesting against the farm laws across the country.

The government has, however, asserted that the new laws will free farmers from the clutches of middleman and allow them to sell their produce anywhere they want at a remunerative price.

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India

Congress protests against farm laws in Goa, demands rollback

“If this is not a new ‘zamindari system’, what else is? Through this specious mode of contract farming, farmers will be left at the mercy of big companies, courts and bureaucracy in the event of any dispute.

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Goa Congress Farm Protest

Panaji, Sep 28 : The Congress in Goa on Monday staged a protest at the Raj Bhavan here to protest against the three new agricultural laws and demanded their rollback.

In a memorandum submitted at the Raj Bhavan, Goa Congress leaders leading more than 1,000 protestors claimed the new legislations were “anti-farmer but corporate-friendly”.

Parliament passed the three Bills in its Monsoon Session. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent on September 24 whereas the central government published it its gazette on Sunday.

“The biggest flaw in the contract farming law is that Minimum Support Price (MSP) is not mandatory. Once the mandi system is abolished, farmers will be solely dependent on contract farming and big companies will decide the price of farmer’s crops on their own,” claimed the memorandum signed by top Congress functionaries and addressed to the President of India.

“If this is not a new ‘zamindari system’, what else is? Through this specious mode of contract farming, farmers will be left at the mercy of big companies, courts and bureaucracy in the event of any dispute.

“In such a scenario, powerful big companies will naturally exercise their influence on bureaucracy and attack the very livelihood of farmers by engaging them in the legal intricacies and earn profits,” the memorandum said.

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