Constitutional Court to announce ruling on adultery Friday

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TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s grand justices will rule on whether adultery will continue to be considered a crime at the Constitutional Court Friday, with the event due to be live streamed.

The ruling pertains to Article 239 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that a married person who commits adultery shall be sentenced to prison for less than one year, with the other party to the adultery subject to the same punishment, though there can be no trial without a complaint from the alleged victim.

The case came about when 18 judges in Taiwan and a man convicted of adultery earlier this year requested the Constitutional Court overturn Interpretation 554, which determined that Article 239 was constitutional.

According to one of the judges who applied for a constitutional interpretation, the article could be at odds with the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and infringes on people’s rights, including an individual’s right to privacy and bodily autonomy.

Women’s groups in Taiwan have also voiced their support for the decriminalization of adultery, as they believe the article fails in its stated purpose of keeping marriages intact.

A debate was held at the Constitutional Court in late March for the grand justices to hear arguments presented by supporters and opponents of decriminalization.

According to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the purpose of the adultery law is to help preserve the covenant loyalty of marriage.

Recent polls also show that roughly 80 percent of Taiwanese are opposed to decriminalizing adultery, the justice ministry said.

Meanwhile, members of the public can watch the Constitutional Court’s ruling streamed live on the Facebook page of the Judicial Yuan from 4 p.m. Friday.