HomeYusuf Abdul Aziz v. The State of Bombay (AIR 1951 SC 321)

Facts

A complaint was filed against the appellant for the crime of adultery under Section 497 IPC. The appellant had approached the High Court by the decision was not in his favour and thus, approached the Supreme Court contesting that Section 497 IPC is unconstitutional.

Issue

Whether Section 497 IPC is unconstitutional?

Rule

Section 497 IPC, Article 15 of the Constitution of India.

Analysis

The Court points out that if there is no express provision saying women should not be punishable under adultery, even women would be liable to criminal punishment for adultery. However, the Court notices that under Section 497 IPC, it is expressly mentioned that, “In such case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.” Moreover, the Court says that even though discrimination is prohibited on the basis of sex only under Article 15 of the Constitution, Article 15 (3) also states that, “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women…” Thus, the Court considers Section 497 IPC as a special provision for women and thus holds that it is not unconstitutional.

Conclusion

Section 497 IPC was held to be constitutionally valid.

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