India’s top court has ruled adultery is no longer a criminal offence.
The 158-year-old colonial-era law said any man who had sex with a married woman, without the permission of her husband, was guilty of the criminal act of adultery.
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.
This is the second colonial-era law struck down by the Supreme Court this month –it also overturned a 157-year-old law which effectively criminalised gay sex in India.
While reading out the judgement on adultery, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that while it could be grounds for civil issues like divorce, “it cannot be a criminal offence”.