Difficult to prove, Sec 497 hardly saw any conviction
Interestingly, the National Crime Records Bureau doesn’t even maintain a database on adultery cases as instances are negligible and there is a low chance of conviction in courts.
Adultery charges are sometimes levelled in cases where warring couples are trying to get an upper hand in legal battles over dowry harassment and cruelty, with desperation often triggering counter charges and FIRs. Ultimately, lawyers concede that the section rarely goes beyond the summons stage when parties either settle the matrimonial dispute or divorce each other. Lawyer Vijay Aggarwal, who practices extensively in Delhi’s trial courts, says while he considers the SC ruling a very welcome step, it doesn’t change the equation much on the ground. “The conviction rate in section 497 IPC was negligible because proof of sexual intercourse is required to prove adultery which is seldom available as everything happens behind closed doors. Hence, such an offence is almost impossible to prove. So, this is more of a technical correction as cases were not reaching anywhere even otherwise,” he said.