Supreme Court struck down criminalisation of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) last week. Earlier adultery was an offence and a convict could be sentenced to five years jail term.
In one of the incidents being reported by TOI, a woman committed suicide at MGR Nagar on Saturday night after her husband, a watchman, challenged her that she had no right to stop him from having an extramarital affair as the Supreme Court had ruled three days ago that adultery was not a crime. This is the first casualty reported here after the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday decriminalising adultery.
Police said Pushpalatha, 24, of Bharathi Nagar, Nesapakkam married John Paul Franklin, 27, two years ago. The couple had a love marriage after a strong opposition from their families. The couple also had a child, police said.
The woman was said to have been undergoing treatment for tuberculosis while her husband was employed as a security guard at a corporation park in the society.
As per reports, Franklinn distanced himself from his wife on learning about her health condition and also did not support her financially.
When Pushpalatha conveyed her wooes to one of her husband’s friends, she learnt from him about the closeness of her husband with another woman. Her suspiscion turned stronger when her husband started returning home late everyday. She started picking up fights with him confronting him on the issue. She also warned him to end his illicit relationship with other woman and part ways with her immediately.
When Franklinn refused to pay heed to her, she threatened to lodge a police complaint against him.
“He went to the extent of telling her that she cannot book a case against him as Supreme Court had ruled that extramarital affair was no more a crime”, said an investigating officer.
The wife got completed shattered over hearing this and instantly decided to end her life on Saturday night. Her body was found by one of her relatives who then alerted MGR Nagar Police Station.
The police is now questioning the husband. The Supreme Court order states that if adultery leads to suicide, abetment of suicide can be charged against the spouse of the deceased.
Last week, women activists from across the country had welcomed the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment to strike down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which penalised adultery for men. However, a section of them also expressed reservations on the judgment, over fears that it could be misused. Activists said Section 497 was flawed mainly on two counts — it was discriminatory based on gender, and it treated the wife as a property of the husband.