On Thursday, a Supreme Court Judge said that all married women have sexual autonomy, the right to say “No”. The report of penal law on adultery was headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who was assisted by Justice DY Chandrachud, a significant member of 5-judge Constitution bench. They added in the statement that if any person gets to indulge in an adulterous relationship, then it is a sign of “broken marriage.”
The Judge said that if a woman stays in a broken relationship, it is not mandatory for her to lose sexual independence as she is a married woman.
Justice Chandrachud reports, “When we accept that a woman has the right to say ‘no’, and then we will have to accept that she has the right to sexual autonomy.”
In response to the statement, Chief Justice Misra told, “Suppose we say that sexual autonomy is natural right then it will take away adultery as the ground for seeking divorce.”
Mr. Misra also outlined the differences between adultery as a civil wrong or a criminal offense, which is prioritizing in quest of divorce.
The Supreme Court declared, “As far as criminalization or decriminalization of adultery as an offense is concerned, it is in one compartment. Adultery cannot cease to be a ground for seeking divorce by an estranged couple in a court of law.”
Commenting on the right of sexual independence of married women, Mr. Misra expressed, “Mental cruelty is a ground for grant of decree of divorce. The question is whether adultery will tantamount to mental cruelty or not.” He continued that the right to human dignity and choice are distinct from one another.
Chief Justice Misra added that a married individual cannot have sexual independent to have extramarital relationships as disloyalty is a consensual Act. Therefore, a woman does not have the right to claim her fundamental right to select her partner other than marriage.
Mr. Chandrachud expressed that sexual disloyalty is not entertained by law as it is considered a civil wrong, which can be used for seeking a divorce. However, sexual independence, like other fundamental rights cannot be made absolute and it can be subjected to realistic restrictions, expressed Justice Chandrachud.