Joseph Shine Judgment not to apply in Army says Supreme Court

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court bench listening to the matter that an army with “completely loose morals” may affect military discipline, stated that armed forces have the power to take action against their military officers for adulterous acts. Also, they highlighted that adultery decriminalization would not impact the disciplinary proceedings. While addressing the matter, the 2018 judgment passed by the Supreme Court in the Joseph Shine vs Union of India case, struck down Section 497 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) which was not concerned with provisions of the armed forces Acts. The 2018 judgment was delivered by a five-judge bench which was headed by Justice KM Joseph stated that the 158-year-old anti-adultery law was unconstitutional. 

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The Top Court while hearing the matter highlighted that “This Court was neither called upon nor has pronounced on Sections 45 and 63 of the Army Act and corresponding provisions of the other Acts. We only make this position clear and dispose of the application.” Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the Centre, Madhavi Divan illustrated that the filed application was in the view of the Armed Forces Tribunal quashing disciplinary proceedings against inappropriate sexual conduct by personnel with the help of Joseph Shine Judgment. ASG further stated that there is a necessity to take action against adultery to ensure that the officers serving away from their families should not feel dispirited or insecure.

Advocate appearing for Joseph Shine, Kaleeswaram Raj, stated that Joseph Shine's case has no observation regarding Army Officers and urged the Court to take action on a case-to-case basis. Further, the Apex Court in its own judgment illustrated that armed forces should have an appropriate method or mechanism for disciplinary proceedings against officers for adultery as it may shake up the entire life of the officers.

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