Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice on the Centre's plea that a 2018 apex court judgment to decriminalise adultery under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code should not be applicable to the armed forces.

A bench headed by Justice RF Nariman and comprising Justices Navin Sinha and KM Joseph also sent the case to the Chief Justice for listing it before a five-Judge bench that had decriminalised adultery. The top court had then noted that it can only be a ground for divorce.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing petitioner Defence Ministry, submitted that armed force personnel can be dismissed from service on ground of unbecoming conduct on account of adultery with brother officers' spouses.

The Centre argued that the top court verdict on adultery may cause instability within the armed forces, as defence personnel were expected to function in peculiar conditions.

The Centre emphasised that during the course of their service, defence personnel many times stayed away from their families for long durations, as a result of their posting on borders or other far-flung areas.

After a brief hearing, Justice Nariman said that the matter would be placed before a five-Judge Bench as deemed fit by the Chief Justice of India.

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