India’s top court has ruled adultery is no longer a criminal offence.

The Supreme Court overturned a 158-year-old law which said any man who had sex with a married woman, without the permission of her husband, was guilty of the criminal act of adultery.

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It is not clear how many men have been prosecuted under the law since its inception – there is no data available.

A petitioner had challenged the law saying it was arbitrary and discriminated against men and women.

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While reading out the judgement, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said: “adultery can be ground for civil issues including dissolution of marriage but it cannot be a criminal offence”.

He added that the law discriminated against women, saying “treating women with indignity or discrimination invites the wrath of the constitution”.

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