Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987

 3 OF 1988 In spite of the provisions in Indian Penal Code, 1860for the prevention of suicide, the continuance of the practice of sati and its glorification has been on the increase in the recent years. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. contains provisions to prosecute the person for the abetment of sati. This has not proved effective for prevention of sati and its glorification. Therefore, the present Bill is the need of the hour to prevent the reoceurrence of sati. Hence this Bill Gazzette of India ,4-12-1987. Pt.ll,S.2,Ext., p. 26 (No. 58). 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:-

 PART 1 :  PRELIMINARY

PART 2 :  PUNISHMENTS FOR OFFENCES RELATING TO SATI

PART 3 :  POWERS OF COLLECTOR OR DISTRICT MAGISTRATE TO PREVENIOFFENCES RELATING TO SATI

PART 4 :  SPECIAL COURTS

PART 5 :  MISCELLANEOUS.

1: Short title, extent and commencement.- (1) This Act may be called the Commssion of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.

 (2) It extends to the whole ofIndiaexcept the State ofJammu and Kashmir. (Official Gazette, appoint and different dates may be appointed for differ

 (3) It shall come into force 3 (a) [a] 21-3-1988 - appointed as the date on which the Act shall come into force Gaz. ofInd., 21-3-1988, Pt. II, S. 3(i), Ext.. p. I (No. 129), in a State on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the ent States.

 2:Definitions.- (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-

 (a) "Code" means (Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973)

(b) "glorification ", in relation to sati, whether such sati was committed before or after the commencement of this Act, includes, among other things,-

(i) the observance of any ceremony or the taking out of a procession in connection with the commission of sati; or

(ii) the supporting, justifying or propogating 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 of 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 burying alive of-

(i) any widow along with the body Of her deceased husband or any other relative or will 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 aSpecial Courtconstituted 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 (Indian Penal Code, 1860) or in the Code shall have the same meanings as are respectively assigned to them in the (Indian Penal Code, 1860) or the Code.

 3: Attempt to commit sati.- Notwithstanding anything contained in (Indian Penal Code, 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 other relevant factors.

 4: Abetment of sati.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in (Indian Penal Code, 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,; cither directly or indirectly, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to line.

 (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 slat" of intoxication or stupefaction or other cause impeding the exercise of her free will',

(b) milking a widow or woman believe that the commission of sati would result in -some spiritual benefit to her or her deceased husband or relative or the general well being of the family:

(c) encouraging u widow or woman to remain fixed in her resolve to commit sail and thus- instigating her to commit sati:

(d) participating in any procession inconnection with the commission of sati of aiding the widow or woman in her decision to commit sati by taking her along with the body of her deceased husband of 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 of obstructing; the widow or woman from saving herself from being burnt or buried alive:

(g) obstrueting or interfering with, the police in the discharge of its duties of taking any steps to prevent the commission of sati.

 5:Punishment for glorification of sati.- Whoever does any act for the glorification of sati shall he 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.

 6: Power to prohibit certain acts.- (1) Where the Collector or the District Magistrate is of he opinion that sati or :any abetment thereof is being, or is about to he 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 my manner of sati by any person in any area or areas specified in the order. (1) Whoever contravenes any order made under sub-section ( 1 ) or sub-section (2) shall, it such contravention is not punishable under any other provision of this Act. be punishable with imprisonment tor 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 hut which mav extend to thirty thousand rupees.

 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 in 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.

 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 properly.

 (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.

 9:Trial of offences under this Act.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code all offences under this Act shall he triable only by aSpecial 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 everySpecial Courtshall exercise jurisdiction in respect of the whole or such part of the State as may be specified in the notification

 (3) A Special Courtshall 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 not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of aSpecial Courtunless he is immediately before such appointment, a Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge in any State.

 10: Special Public Prosecutors.- (1) For everySpecial 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 snall 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.

 

11:Procedure and powers of Special Courts.- (1) A Special Court may take cogniaznce of any offence, without the accused being committed to it for trial, upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such offence, or upon a police report of such facts.

 

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, a Special Court shall, for the purpose of the trial of any offence, have all the powers of a Court of Session and shall try such offence as if it were a Court of Session, so far as may be, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Code for trial before a Court of Session.

 

12: Power of Special Court with respect to other offences.- ( 1 ) When trying any offence under this Act, aSpecial Court may also try any other offence with which the accused may, under the Code, be charged at the same trial if the offence is connected with such other offence.

 

(2) If, in the course of any trial of any offence under this Act it is found that, the accused person has committed any other offence under this Act or under any other law, a Special Court may convict such person also of such other offence and pass any sentence authorised by this Act or such other law for the punishment thereof.

 

(3) In every inquiry or trial, the proceedings shall be held as expeditiously as possible and, in particular, where the examination of witnesses has begun, the same shall be continued from day to day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, and if any Special Court finds the adjournment of the same beyond the following date to be necessary, it shall record its reasons for doing so.

 

13:Forfeiture of funds or property.- Where a person has been convicted of an offence under this Act, theSpecial Court trying such offence may, if it is considered necessary so to do, declare that any funds or property seized under (section 8) shall stand forfeited to the State.

 

14:Appeal.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, an appeal shall lie as a- matter of right from any judgment, sentence or order, not being an interlocutory order, of aSpecial Court to the High Court both on facts and on law.

 

(2) Every appeal under this section shall be preferred within a period of thirty days- from the date of the judgment, sentence or order appealed from: Provided that the High Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that the appellant had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal within the period of thirty days.

 

15:Protection of action taken under this Act.- No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the State Government or any officer or authority of the State Government for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or any rules or orders made under this Act.

 

16: Burden of proof.- Where any person is prosecuted of an offence under (section 4) , the burden of proving that he had not committed the offence under the said section shall be on him.

 

17: Obligation of certain persons to report about the commission of offence under this Act.- (1) All officers of Government are hereby required and empowered to assist the police in the execution of the provisions of this Act or any rule or order made thereunder

 

(2)All village officers and such other officers as may be specified by the Collector or the District Magistrate in relation to any area and the inhabitants of such area shall, if they have reason to believe or have the knowledge that sati is about to be, or has been, committed in the area shall forthwith report such fact to the nearest police station.

 

(3) Whoever contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

 

18:Person convicted of an offence under section 4 to be disqualified from inheriting certain properties.- A person convicted of an offence under sub-section (l) of (section 4) in relation to the commission of sati shall be disqualified from inheriting the property of the person in respect of whom such sati has been committed or the property of any other person which he would have been entitled to inherit on the death of the person in respect of whom such sati has been committed.

 

19: Amendment of Act 43 of 1951.- In the Representation of the People Act, 1951,-

 

(a) in (section 8) , in sub-section (2), after the proviso, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:- Provided further that a person convicted by a Special Court for the contravention of any of the provisions of the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of five years since his release,";

 

(b) in (section 123) . after clause'(3A), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:-- (3B) The propagation of the practice or the commission of sati or its glorification by a candidate or his agent or any other person with the consent of the candidate or his election agent for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate.

 

 

20 Act to have overriding effect.- The provisions of this Act or any rule or order made thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any enactment other than this Act or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any enactment other than this Act.

 

21: Power to make rules.- (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Ga7.ctte. make rules' for carrying out the provisions of this Act.

 

(2) Every rule made under this section shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the succession sessions, aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.

 

22:Repeal of existing laws.- (1) All laws in force in any State immediately before the commencement of this Act in that State which provide for the prevention or the glorification of sati shall, on such commencement, stand repealed.

 

(2) Notwit. standing such repeal, anything done or any action taken under any law repealed under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding' provisions of this Act, and, in particular, any case taken cognizance of by a Special Court under the provisions of any law so repealed and pending before it immediately before the commencement of any Act in that State shall continue to be dealt with by that Special Court after such commencement as if such Special Court had been constituted under (section 9) of this Act.