Despite panel nudge, adultery & unnatural sex not crimes in Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill | India News

NEW DELHI: Disregarding the recommendations of a parliamentary panel, the government has stuck to its decision to exclude Section 377 of IPC, which related to unnatural sex against the order of nature, and Section 497, related to adultery, from the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita Bill, 2023, introduced in Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The two sections have been read down by the Supreme Court.
The court decriminalised adultery in 2018; it continues to be a ground for divorce.The same year, it decriminalised consensual sex betweensame-sex couples.
The BNS Bill, however, added a new Section 73 to the provisions dealing with offences against women and children, particularly to protect against making public the identity of or information related to survivors of rape and sexual offences. “Whoever prints or publishes any matter in relation to any proceeding before a court with respect to an offence referred to in Section 72 without the previous permission of such court shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine,” Section 73 reads.
Mandatory to reintroduce and retain Sec 377 of IPC: Panel
However, it is explained that printing or publication of the judgment of the Supreme Court or any HC will not be construed as an offence within the meaning of this section. Section 72 prohibits printing or publishing material revealing the identity of a survivor of sexual offence.

The parliamentary standing committee on home affairs led by Brij Lal, in its report tabled in Parliament on December 4, sought the inclusion of Section 377 in its read-down avatar where same-sex, non-consensual sexual acts would be prosecuted.
In its recommendations, the committee said even after the SC read down the section, “provisions of Section 377 remain applicable in cases of non-consensual carnal intercourse with adults, all acts of carnal intercourse with minors, and acts of bestiality. It suggested that “to align with the objectives stated in the BNS, which highlights the move towards gender-neutral offences, it is mandatory to reintroduce and retain Section 377 of IPC“. On adultery, the committee had said, “The institution of marriage is considered sacred in Indian society and there is a need to safeguard its sanctity. For the sake of protecting the institution of marriage, this section should be retained.”

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