Report gathered that, South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years.
The nine-member bench ruled by seven to two that the 1953 statute aimed at protecting traditional family values was unconstitutional.
“Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals’ private lives,” said presiding justice Park Han-Chul.
The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world’s largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange.
It was the fifth time the apex court had considered the constitutional legality of the legislation which had made South Korea one of the few non-Muslim countries to regard marital infidelity as a criminal act.
In the past six years, close to 5,500 people have been formerly arraigned on adultery charges — including nearly 900 in 2014.
But the numbers had been falling, with cases that ended in prison terms increasingly rare.
Such was the case in 2008 when one of the country’s best-known actresses, Ok So-Ri, was given an eight-month suspended sentence for having an adulterous affair.
At that time, Ok unsuccessfully petitioned the Constitutional Court, arguing that the law amounted to a violation of her human rights in the name of revenge.
The court had previously deliberated the issue in 1990, 1993 and 2001, but those moves to strike down the law had failed to gain the support of the six judges required.