A Regulation for declaring the practice of sati or of burning or burying alive the widows of Hindus illegal and punishable by the Criminal Courts.
1. The practice of sati or of burning or burying alive the widows of Hindus is revolting to the feelings of human nature; it is nowhere enjoined by the religion of the Hindus as an imperative duty; on the contrary, a life of purity and retirement on the part of the widow is more especially and preferably inculcated, and by a vast majority of that people throughout India the practice is not kept up nor observed: in some extensive districts it does not exist; in those in which it has been more frequent it is notorious that in many instances acts of atrocity have been perpetrated which have been shocking to the Hindus themselves and in their eyes unlawful and wicked.
The measures hitherto adopted to discourage and prevent such acts have failed of success, and the Governor-General in Council is deeply impressed with the conviction that the abuses in question cannot be effectually put an end to without abolishing the practice altogether.
Actuated by these considerations, the Governor-General in Council, without intending to depart from one of the first and most important principles of the system of British Government in India, that all classes of the people be secure in the observance of their religious usages, so long as that system can be adhered to without violation of the paramount dictates of justice and humanity, has deemed it right to establish the following rules, which are hereby enacted to be in force from the time of their promulgation throughout the territories immediately subject to the Presidency of Fort William.