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Jammu & Kashmir HC Stays enforcement of Magistrate directive to file FIR which included adultery as an offence

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Published on: December 03, 2023 at 12:42 IST

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Jammu wing, recently Stayed the enforcement of a Jammu court’s directive to file a First Information Report (FIR), which included “adultery” as an offense, despite the Supreme Court deeming the adultery law unconstitutional in 2018.

Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal expressed the need to temporarily pause the October 2023 order by a judicial magistrate in Jammu, observing that a prima facie case warranted such action.

Consequently, the Court suspended the order, requested the case’s relevant records for review, and issued notices regarding the matter.

The case presented before the Court challenged a ruling issued on October 27, 2023, by the 2nd additional Munsiff, Jammu.

This order instructed the registration of an FIR citing offenses under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 497 on adultery, which the Supreme Court had nullified.

The accused individuals listed in the case encompassed the relatives of the primary accused.

Subsequently, the accused family members filed a petition urging the High Court to invalidate the magistrate’s October 2023 directive. They asserted the complaint’s falsehood and frivolity, alleging unwarranted involvement in criminal proceedings.

The petitioners’ counsel highlighted the inclusion of the now defunct “adultery” charge under Section 497 of the IPC, despite its unconstitutionality per the Supreme Court. This discrepancy was raised as evidence of the magistrate’s mechanical and unreflective approach, leading to harassment and bias against the petitioners.

Following considerations, the High Court acknowledged the petitioners’ case for interim relief and halted the magistrate’s order.

The Court’s order on November 24, 2023, stated, “The impugned order dated 27.10.2023 passed by the learned 2nd Additional Munsiff, Jammu for the commission of offence punishable under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C in a complaint titled … along with other consequential proceedings thereof, shall remain stayed, subject to objections from the other side and till next date of hearing before the Bench.”