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How can offences arising from Extra-Marital affairs be curbed

How can offences arising from Extra-Marital affairs be curbed

Ajith Kumar Vs State of Tamil Nadu and Ors

Madras HC


H.C.P.No.2527 of 2018

About/from the judgment:

Only a few months after SC scrapped 497 IPC (adultery law), Madras HC is realizing that marriage in India is based on love, faith, trust and legitimate expectation, so is now worried that 'Extra-marital relationship’ has become a dangerous social evil nowadays and wants to address the issue of heinous crimes, especially, murders due to extra-marital affairs.


A case involving a fatal spat between two lovers of the same woman has prompted the Madras High Court to take up the broader issue of offences stemming from extra-marital affairs and illicit relationships.


"The marital relationship is considered to be sacred. However, what is to be sacred is dangerously fast becoming scary shattering families due to outside conjugal relationship.”


Terming extra-marital relationship as a 'dangerous social evil' , the Madras High Court has asked a score of questions to Central and State Governments, to 'find out' the reasons leading to such relationships.


The High Court expressed concern over the day-by day increasing clandestine relationships which ultimately leads to serious and heinous crimes like Murder, kidnap etc. The court began its judgment with these observations:

"Extra-marital relationship"has become a dangerous social evil nowadays. Many heinous crimes including ghastly murders, assaults, kidnappings, etc., are committed because of clandestine relationships and they are alarmingly increasing day-by-day. Most of the killings are either by husbands or wives to eliminate his or her cheating partner, the paramour and shockingly even children. Moreover, murders are being committed either by husband or wife to continue the relationship with paramour."


The bench essentially wanted to know whether the following are factors for increase in such immoral/extramarital relationships: TV Serials, cinemas, economic independence of Spouses, social media, westernisation, alcohol, nuclear family system, non-teaching of moral/ethical values in schools, forced arranged marriages, more public exposure of working women and their mingling with office colleagues.


The bench was considering a habeas corpus petition challenging detention of one Ajitkumar under the Goondas Act. Ajith Kumar and several others are accused of murdering one Joseph, over an issue of illicit relationship they had with one lady. While quashing the detention order, the bench observed:

"Extra-marital relationship is the basic reason for the murder in this case. Marriage in India is based on love, faith, trust and legitimate expectation. The marital relationship is considered to be sacred. However, what is to be sacred is dangerously fast becoming scary shattering families due to outside conjugal relationship."


The bench then directed the Centre and State Government to respond to these 20 queries. Though the bench has clarified that, the queries are neither 'opinion nor finding or conclusions of the Court', one of them (highlighted below) looks so controversial.


  1. How many murders took place in Chennai as well as in Tamil Nadu and in India for the past 10 years due to extra-marital affairs? [Year wise details to be given.]
  2. How many offences like suicide, kidnapping, assault, etc., other than murder were committed due to illicit intimacy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and in India for the past 10 years? Whether there is phenomenal increase in the number of offences due to immoral relationship year by year?
  3. Is it a fact that the Mega Television Serials and Cinemas are major reasons for the increase in scandalous relationship in our country?
  4. Whether Mega Television Serials and Cinemas invariably give clue to the people involved in clandestine relationships to commit the offences including murders and kidnapping?
  5. Whether spouses are increasingly engaging paid killers to get rid-off their life partners?
  6. Is it a fact that the economic independence of both the spouses is responsible for spurt in extra-marital affairs?
  7. Is it a fact that the increase in illicit relationships is because of sexual dysfunctions or deficiencies of the spouses?
  8. Does the spurt in scandalous affairs due to internet which offers platforms, like, Facebook, Facetime, Whatsapp, Instagram, etc., giving many chances for strangers to get connected?
  9. Whether the increase in clandestine relationship is due to westernisation of our culture and way of life?
  10. Are illicit affairs due to invalidity of men due to their alcohol addiction?
  11. Whether illicit intimacy is due to lack of quality time spent by the spouses with each other, depriving of their emotional, psychological support and physical comfort and pleasure?
  12. Whether better public exposure of women, who rightly broke restrictive customs, and their mingling with third parties in their offices or professions are some of the reasons for clandestine relationship?
  13. Whether breaking away of joint family system and formation of nucleus family are responsible for the increase in extra-marital relationship?
  14. Is it correct to say that non-teaching of moral and ethical values in the schools is primarily responsible for many social evils including illicit affairs?
  15. Is it a fact that scandalous relationships are due to conduct of arranged marriages contrary to the wishes of the bride or bridegroom?
  16. Does mismatch of couples cause illicit intimacy?
  17. What are all the sociological, psychological and economical factors responsible for spurt in extra-marital relationship?
  18. Why not the Central Government and the State Government constitute an Expert Committee headed by a Retired Supreme Court Judge/Retired High Court Judge, consisting of psychologists, psychiatrists, andrologists, neurologists, physicians, social activists, Non-Governmental Organisations who work for safeguarding the families, to study and analyse the reasons for the social menace of extra-marital relationship and find out the reason for increase in illicit relationship/extra-marital relationship and give suggestions/solutions to arrest the evil and prevent connected offences in the interest of families/society?
  19. Why not the respondents constitute Family Counselling Centre to give counselling to the spouses in every District?


The case is posted on third week of June 2019.

Read the Judgment


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