THE COMMISSION OF SATI (PREVENTION) ACT, 1987
[Act, No. 3 of 1988]
[3rd January, 1988]
An Act to provide for the more effective prevention of the commission of sati and its glorification and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
WHEREAS sati or the burning or burying alive of widows or women is revolting to the feelings of human nature and is nowhere enjoined by any of the religions of India as an imperative duty;
AND WHEREAS it is necessary to take more effective measures to prevent the commission of sati and its glorification;
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--
Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement
(1) This Act may be called the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.
(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
(3) It shall come into force in a State on such date1as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different States.
|1. 1st March, 1988 Vide G.S.R. 359(E), dated 21st March, 1988.|
Section 2. Definitions
(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--
(a) "Code means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974);
(b) "glorification", in relation to sati, whether such sati was committed before or after the commencement of this Act, includes, among other things,--
(i) observance of any ceremony or the taking out of a procession in connection with the commission of sati; or
(ii) the supporting, justifying or propagating the practice of sati in any manner; or
(iii) the arranging of any function to eulogise the person who has committed sati, or
(iv) the creation of a trust, or the collection of funds, or the construction of a temple or other structure or the carrying on of any form of worship or the performance of any ceremony thereat, with a view to perpetuate the honour of, or to preserve the memory of, a person who has committed sati;
(c) "sati means the act of burning or burying alive of--
(i) any widow along with the body of her deceased husband or any other relative or with any article, object or thing associated with the husband or such relative; or
(ii) any woman along with the body of any of her relatives, irrespective of whether such burning or burying is claimed to be voluntary on the part of the widow or the woman or otherwise;
(d) "Special Court" means a Special Court constituted under section 9;
(e) "temple" includes any building or other structure, whether roofed or not, constructed or made to preserve the memory of a person in respect of whom sati has been committed or used or intended to be used for the carrying on of any form of worship or for the observance of any ceremony in connection with such commission.
(2) Words and expressions used but not defined in this Act and defined in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), or in the Code shall have the same meanings as are respectively assigned to them in the Indian Penal Code or the Code.
Section 3. Attempt to commit sati
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), whoever attempts to commit sati and does any act towards such commission shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or with both:
Provided that the Special Court trying an offence under this section shall, before convicting any person, take into consideration the circumstances leading to the commission of the offence, the act committed, the state of mind of the person charged of the offence at the time of the commission of the act and all of the relevant factors.
Section 4. Abetment of sati
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), if any person commits sati, whoever abets the commission of such sati, either directly or indirectly, shall be punishable with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.
(2) If any person attempts to commit sati, whoever abets such attempt, either directly or indirectly, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation.--For the purposes of this section, any of the following acts or the like shall also be deemed to be an abetment, namely:--
(a) any inducement to a widow or woman to get her burnt or buried alive along with the body of her deceased husband or with any other relative or with any article, object or thing associated with the husband or such relative, irrespective of whether she is in a fit state of mind or is labouring under a state of intoxication or stupefaction or other cause impeding the exercise of her free will;
(b) making a widow or woman believe that the commission of sati would result in some spiritual benefit to her or her deceased husband or relative of the general well being of the family;
(c) encouraging a widow or woman to remain fixed in her resolve to commit sati and thus instigating her to commit sati;
(d) participating in any procession in connection with the commission of sati or aiding the widow or woman in her decision to commit sati by taking her along with the body of her deceased husband or relative to the cremation or burial ground;
(e) being present at the place where sati is committed as an active participant to such commission or to any ceremony connected with it;
(f) preventing or obstructing the widow or woman from saving herself from being burnt or buried alive;
(g) obstructing, or interfering with, the police in the discharge of its duties of taking any steps to prevent the commission of sati.
Section 5. Punishment for glorification of sati
Whoever does any act for the glorification of sati shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to seven years and with fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but which may extend to thirty thousand rupees.
Section 6. Power to prohibit certain acts
(1) Where the Collector or the District Magistrate is of the opinion that sati or any abetment thereof is being, or is being, or is about to be committed, he may, by order, prohibit the doing of any act towards the commission of sati by any person in any area or areas specified in the order.
(2)The Collector or the District Magistrate may also, by order, prohibit the glorification in any manner of sati by any person in any area or areas specified in the order.
(3) Whoever contravenes any order made under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall, if such contravention is not punishale under any other provision of this Act, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to seven years and with fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but which may extend to thirty thousand rupees.
Section 7. Power to remove certain temples or other structures
(1) The State Government may, if it is satisfied that in any temple or other structure which has been in existence for not less than twenty years, any form of worship or the performance of any ceremony is carried on with a view to perpetuate the honour of, or to preserve the memory of, any person in respect of whom sati has been committed, by order, direct the removal of such temple or other structure.
(2) The Collector or the District Magistrate may, if he is satisfied that in any temple or other structure, other than that referred to in sub-section (1), any form of worship or the performance of any ceremony is carried on with a view to perpetuate the honour of, or to
preserve the memory of any person is respect of whom sati has been committed, by order, direct the removal of such temple or other structure.
(3) Where any order under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) is not complied with, the State Government or the Collector or the District Magistrate, as the case may be, shall cause the temple or other structure to be removed through a police officer not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector at the cost of the defaulter.
Section 8. Power to seize certain properties
(1) Where the Collector or the District Magistrate has reason to believe that any funds or property have been collected or acquired for the purpose of glorification of the commission of any sati or which may be found under circumstances which create suspicion of the commission of any offence under this Act, he may seize such funds or property.
(2) Every Collector or District Magistrate acting under sub-section (1) shall report the seizure to the Special Court, if any, constituted to try any offence in relation to which such funds or property were collected or acquired and shall await the orders of such Special Court as to the disposal of the same.
Section 9. Trial of offences under this Act
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, all offences under this Act shall be triable only by a Special Court constituted under this section.
(2) The State Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette constitute one or more Special Courts for the trial of offences under this Act and every Special Court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of the whole or such part of the State as may be specified in the notification.
(3) A Special Court shall be presided over by a Judge to be appointed by the State Government with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court.
(4) A person shall be qualified for appointment as a Judge of a Special Court unless he is, immediately before such appointment, a Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge in any State.
Section 10. Special Public Prosecutors
(1) For every Special Court, the State Government shall appoint a person to be a Special Public Prosecutor.
(2) A person shall be eligible to be appointed as a Special Public Prosecutor under this section only if he had been in practice as an advocate for not less than seven years or has held any post for a period of not less than seven years under the State requiring special knowledge of law.
(3) Every person appointed as a Special Public Prosecutor under this section shall be deemed to be a Public Prosecutor within the meaning of clause (u) of section 2 of the Code and the provisions of the Code shall have effect accordingly.