The petition in Supreme Court challenging the Constitutionality of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the offence of adultery, will be heard by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court..A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar heard the matter today and referred the case to Constitution Bench..Section 497 of IPC criminalises the offence of adultery, but only a man is liable to be punished for the offence. Further, if the husband of the woman gives his consent for sexual intercourse with another man, no offence lies..When the matter had come up for admission on December 8 last year, the Court had noted that on a prima facie reading of Section 497, it finds that the provision relieves the woman of any liability. The Bench noted,.“Prima facie, on a perusal of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, we find that it grants relief to the wife by treating her as a victim. It is also worthy to note that when an offence is committed by both of them, one is liable for the criminal offence but the other is absolved. It seems to be based on a societal presumption.”.Besides, the Court had noted that though criminal law proceeds on gender neutrality, this provision is an aberration to the same..“Ordinarily, the criminal law proceeds on gender neutrality but in this provision, as we perceive, the said concept is absent. That apart, it is to be seen when there is conferment of any affirmative right on women, can it go to the extent of treating them as the victim, in all circumstances, to the peril of the husband.”.It had further observed that the provision renders women as chattel by creating a dent on the individual independent identity of a woman..“Quite apart from that, it is perceivable from the language employed in the Section that the fulcrum of the offence is destroyed once the consent or the connivance of the husband is established. Viewed from the said scenario, the provision really creates a dent on the individual independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or the consent of the husband. This tantamounts to subordination of a woman where the Constitution confers equal status. A time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every field. This provision, prima facie, appears to be quite archaic..”.The Court had, therefore, issued notice to the Central government.