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The Supreme Court on Friday (January 5) referred the matter related to the validity of Section 497 of IPC and Section 198(2) of CrPC to the constitution bench.

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud was hearing the plea which asked for the review of Section 198(2) of CrPC on the ground that it is violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of Constitution, since it excludes women from prosecution.

In the previous hearing while issuing notice to the centre on the constitutional validity of  Section 497 and Section 198(2), the bench of headed by the CJI had noted: “Ordinarily, the criminal law proceeds on gender neutrality but in this provision, as we perceive, the said concept is absent. That apart, it is to be seen when there is conferment of any affirmative right on women, can it go to the extent of treating them as the victim, in all circumstances, to the peril of the husband…

“A time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every field. This provision, prima facie, appears to be quite archaic. When the society progresses and the rights are conferred, the new generation of thoughts spring, and that is why, we are inclined to issue notice.”

—India Legal Bureau

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