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Adultery no longer a crime in India

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Adultery is no longer a crime, India’s Supreme Court has ruled. In doing so, it declared a colonial-era law that punished the offence with jail time unconstitutional and discriminatory against women.

The more than century-old law prescribed that any man who slept with a married woman without her husband’s permission had committed adultery, a crime carrying a five-year prison term.

A petitioner had challenged the court to strike down the law, describing it as arbitrary and discriminatory against women.

“Thinking of adultery from a point of view of criminality is a retrograde step,” unanimously declared the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court.
Women could not file a complaint under the archaic law nor be held liable for adultery themselves, making it solely the realm of men.

The court said it deprived women of dignity and individual choice and “gives license to the husband to use women as a chattel”.

“It disregards the sexual autonomy which every woman possesses and denies agency to a woman in a matrimonial tie,” said Supreme Court Justice D. Y. Chandrachud.

“She is subjugated to the will of her spouse.”

Read also: European Parliament to punish Hungary for erosion of democracy

It was the second time this month the court overturned Victorian-era laws governing the sexual choices of India’s 1.25 billion citizens.

Earlier this month, the court struck a ban on gay sex introduced by British rulers in 1861.

The bench argued that Section 377 had become “a weapon for harassment” of homosexuals and “history owes an apology to the members of this community and their families”.

On adultery, government lawyers argued it should remain a crime as it threatens the institution of marriage, and caused harm to children and families.
But in its ruling, the court said extramarital affairs — while still a valid ground for divorce — were a private matter between adults.

In 1954, the court upheld adultery as a crime arguing “it is commonly accepted that it is the man who is the seducer, and not the woman”.

But in their ruling on Thursday, the judges said this narrative no longer applied, noting also that Britain did away with its own laws penalising adultery long ago.

“Man being the seducer and women being the victim no longer exits. Equality is the governing principle of a system. Husband is not the master of the wife,” the verdict added.

Musings From Abroad

‘Trapped in Closet’: American singer, R Kelly, sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering, sexual abuses

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American singer, Robert Sylvester Kelly, popular known as R. Kelly is now officially “trapped in the closet” of his ugly past as he has been sentenced to 30 years in prison over charges of racketeering and traping teenagers and women for sex.

The presiding judge, Ann Donnelly slammed the singer the term in the Brooklyn federal court nearly a year after the 55-year-old Kelly was convicted by a New York jury.

The was sentence confirmed was confirmed by the the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York said in a tweet on Wednesday. “The verdict is in: R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years,”

The District had earlier tweeted that the “United States Attorney Breon Peace will deliver remarks today following the sentencing of R. Kelly”

The prosecutors argued that Kelly still “poses a serious danger to the public, ” and prayed that the artist behind bars for at least 25 years.

Although the disgraced singer lawyers called for a lighter sentence with a maximum of approximately 17 years, R. Kelly was found guilty on all nine charges he faced, including the most serious of racketeering in September.

“His actions were brazen, manipulative, controlling, and coercive. He has shown no remorse or respect for the law,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

Many of his victims claimed they were assured he could bolster their music industry aspirations. But prosecutors argued all were instead “indoctrinated” into Kelly’s world — groomed for sex at his whim and kept in line by “coercive means of control,” including isolation and cruel disciplinary measures, recordings of which were played for the jury.

In his prime, Kelly was credited with helping to redefine R&B and hip hop, earning nicknames such as “the King of R&B”, “the King of Pop-Soul”, and the “Pied Piper of R&B”.He is known for his extensive discography of hits spanning three decades. His career has however been repeatedly tagged with accusations of sexual abuse with young adults and minors.

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Musings From Abroad

US Supreme Court abolishes abortion right after almost 50-year precedence

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The US Supreme Court on Friday reversed a nearly half century old constitutional right to abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito who wrote for the Majority argued that the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which had favoured abortion right “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

The ruling comes after leaked draft of Roe vs Wade ruling which guaranteed abortion rights across the country has caused outrage last month.

The Roe vs Wade, ruling was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Although the supreme court declined comment at the time of the leak in May, the Friday ruling perhaps confirmed the fears of many.

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, in a series of tweets while reacting to the leak stressed that “an extremist Supreme Court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the Constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back—not ever

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has drawn reactions from top politicians in the US. One of such is veteran congressman and Democrat, Benie Sanders who tweeted that “overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women the right to control their own bodies is an outrage and in defiance of what the American people want. Democrats must now end the filibuster in the Senate, codify Roe v. Wade, and once again make abortion legal and safe.”

American singer, Taylor Swift, also reacted against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “I’m absolutely terrified that this is where we are – that after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that.” The singer said on twitter.

Also reacting to the ruling is US former president, Barrack Obama, who said “today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”

Meanwhile, there have also been reactions in support of the abolishing of the nearly 50 years of precedent, notably Americans with ideological sentiment with Republicans.

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