Rape is defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code. It is the offence of having sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent.
Adultery is defined in Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code. Here if a person has sexual intercourse with a woman whom he knows to be the wife of another man, and without the consent of that man, such sexual intercourse if not amounting to rape is Adultery.
Some of the main distinctive features and differences are as follows:
Rape is a grave offence. Adultery is comparitively lesser offence.
Punishment for rape may extend from seven years to ten years imprisonment or imprisonment for life. Punishment for adultery is five years imprisonment.
The victim of rape is the woman. The victim of the offence of adultery is the husband of woman.
The victim is woman of any age irrespective of marital status in rape. In adultery, the offence is committed with married woman.
Woman's free consent is absent in rape. In adultery there is consent by woman.
There are different types of rape like custodial rape, gang rape etc. In adultery there is no such types.
A man can commit rape of his own wife if under separation or if she is under 15 years of age. A man can never commit adultery on his own wife. It is commited with wife of another against another husband.