Thursday, January 14, 2021

Military and adultery: Government moves the Supreme Court of India with an intriguing prayer

As reported by the media, the military has moved the Supreme Court of India with a plea that “adultery” should continue to remain an offence for the defence services though it has been decriminalized by the Supreme Court.

The said application filed in the Court for clarification, in the opinion of this contributor, is misplaced and ill-advised. I say so because once a section in the penal code stands decriminalized, it cannot be recriminalized only for the military, and notwithstanding the decriminalization, if any such liaison has an implication on service discipline or any other aspect of service life, it still remains an offence under the provisions dealing with ‘conduct unbecoming’ and ‘violation of good order and discipline’. If that does not suffice, the Parliament can legislate a separate offence in the military codes rather than the Government approaching the Court with a plea to make the Supreme Court ruling ineffective for the military.

A full-fledged opinion piece on the subject of the interplay of adultery with the military in view of its decriminalization, written for The Quint, can be accessed here.   

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