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Joseph Shine v. Union of India by GPT4.0

 The case of Joseph Shine v. Union of India is a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court of India, delivered in 2018, which decriminalised adultery in India. This judgement is significant for its progressive stance on personal liberty, equality, and privacy.


- The case was brought forth by Joseph Shine, a non-resident Keralite, who filed a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

- Section 497 IPC criminalised adultery by imposing punishment on a man who has consensual sexual intercourse with another man's wife without the husband's consent. Notably, the woman involved was not subject to punishment, effectively treating her as a property of her husband.

- Section 198(2) CrPC dealt with the procedure for prosecution under Chapter XX of the IPC, which includes adultery.

Legal Issues:

The key legal issues revolved around whether Section 497 IPC and Section 198(2) CrPC:

- Violated the right to equality and treated women as property.

- Infringed upon the right to privacy and personal liberty.

- Were archaic and not in tune with the times.

Supreme Court Judgment:

- The Supreme Court unanimously declared Section 497 IPC and Section 198(2) CrPC unconstitutional.

- The Court held that Section 497 IPC was archaic, violative of the right to equality and right to privacy. It was observed that the provision discriminated against men by only holding them liable for the offence of adultery and treated women as property of their husbands.

- It was also observed that consensual sexual relations between adults should not be criminalized, and the focus should be on preserving the sanctity of marriage rather than punishing those who engage in consensual relationships outside marriage.

Significance of the Judgment:

1. Upholding Personal Liberty: This judgement is a significant affirmation of personal liberty, recognizing the right of individuals to engage in consensual relationships.

2. Equality and Gender Justice: The judgement was a step forward in ensuring gender justice and equality, as it acknowledged that women are not the property of their husbands and have their own sexual autonomy.

3. Modernising the Law: This decision reflected a modern approach towards archaic laws that no longer align with current societal values.

4. Privacy Rights: The judgement reinforced the right to privacy, a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution, especially in the context of consensual sexual relationships.


The Joseph Shine v. Union of India case marked a progressive shift in the Indian judiciary's approach to laws governing personal relationships and individual autonomy. The decision was celebrated as a victory for gender equality and personal freedoms.

For more detailed information on this case, you can refer to resources like [Indian Kanoon]( or academic articles that discuss its legal and societal implications.


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