Progressive judgment

Dear Editor,
The Supreme Court of India in it’s recent verdict held section 497 of the Indian Penal Code to be unconstitutional. It was definitely the need of the hour. A plain reading of the section would help any person to ascertain that the section was unequal and sexist which treated woman as a property of husband. However, many are erroneously holding the judgement as a license to hold adulterous relationships. The bench of the Supreme Court had clearly said that adultery was still a ground for seeing divorce under civil law.
A section of the people are of the view that this would mean that a husband had no option other than lodging a civil suit in case of an adulterous relationship of his wife. An adulterous relationship has many adverse effects on the child and is a challenge for the social institution of family, the breakdown of which has several adverse implications which affects the society at large.
The judgment is progressive but could adultery have been made punishable for both the spouses making it a gender neutral section, especially when the centre had said that it was awaiting the report of the law commission for necessary amendments to the section? Would the BJP government which is seen as conservative in its view bring a legislation to criminalize adultery in the interest of protecting the sanctity of the institution of marriage?
Arijit Kundu
North 24 Parganas