Armed forces personnel/officials will continue to face action for adultery: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that armed forces can take action against their officers for adulterous acts, while clarifying its 2018 landmark judgement, which decriminalised adultery.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that armed forces can take action against their officers for adulterous acts, while clarifying its 2018 landmark judgement, which decriminalised adultery.
Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for the Centre, submitted before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph that adultery can impact military discipline and acts of moral turpitude have no place in an uniformed profession.
The apex court was informed that officials who were being court-martialled for adultery are citing the apex court's 2018 judgment. The Centre stressed that breach of discipline by officers can also endanger national security.
The bench - also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and C.T. Ravikumar - said its 2018 judgment was not concerned with the provisions of the armed forces acts.
The bench said it had only decriminalised adultery as a criminal offence in the 2018 judgment, "we had not dealt with the Army Act".
The top court passed the order on Centre's plea seeking clarification of the 2018 judgment, emphasising that the 2018 judgment may hinder action against officers who indulge in such actions and can cause 'instability' within the services.
Citing the 2018 judgment, the Ministry of Defence had submitted that there will always be a concern in the minds of the army personnel who are operating far away from their families under challenging conditions about the family indulging in untoward activities. It said it wants to try armed forces personnel under the provisions of the Army Act.
The MoD had moved the apex court for an exemption to armed forces from the September 27, 2018 judgment, which struck down adultery. In 2018, on a plea filed by NRI Joseph Shine, the apex court had struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code dealing with the offence of adultery, holding it unconstitutional.