The National Commission for Women condemns the despicable occurrence of Sati and its glorification on 6th August, 2002, at Patna Tamoli village of Panna district in Madhya Pradesh and recommends that :

  1. People' s archaic beliefs and superstition should not be orchestrated and nurtured by Government and Panchayat functionaries.

  2. The district administrators and elected representatives who have not complied with the law and who played indecisive roles by not pre- empting or preventing the commission of Sati by Kuttu Bai in village Patna Tamoli should not escape accountablility and punishment.

  3. Recognising the socio-cultural dimension with its well it entrenched beliefs and attitudes shall be the duty of the law enforcement system to honour and protect human lives within the provision of the law.

  4. The enforcement apparatus in remote areas is very weak. However, it is obligatory on the local police to seek timely and adequate help from the headquarters. The village Patna Tamoli and Saleha police station, both have telephone and communication links. But a 'help- line' direct to CMl/Police Commission and District Collector needs to be established.

  5. The police is obliged is to take serious and timely note of any news of such barbaric practice even if it be a rumour. This situation, charged with frenzy and faith, cannot be tackled alone by a single police officer. The entire administration and the local officials have been slack in this case and they deserve punishment.

  6. The Panchayat functionaries turned a blind eye to the Sati occurrence. They are squarely accountable and should not be allowed to escape from the ambit of the law.

  7. While appreciating the Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister's strong reaction to the incident and his statement to punish the whole village with fine, it appears a bit arbitrary , and there is need to work out the modalities and not to condone systemic failure because of popular belief.

    These systemic failures that have taken place should be corrected; as also administrative over-hauling is needed. A sweeping condemnation might help psychologically and morally; however, it does not at all alter the situation at the ground level. A strong precedent has to be set to avoid miscarriage of justice in future. This issue needs to be addressed with seriousness.

    Periodic resurgence of Sati cannot and should not be allowed and pre-emptive action is the urgent need.

  8. Law must take its course and people who are accountable at whatever level they may be should be punished for dereliction of duties.

  9. Social reform, of course, is a collective responsibility at all political and adminis1rative levels. It has to be made integral to the political process.

  10. The National Commission for Women urges the State Government to ensure that the culprits are booked under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987. A Special Court to try these cases should be set up at the earliest as provided for in the Act.

  11. The law enables the State to take cognisance of the report filed "by any", and in the present case the report is being filed by the National Commission for Women, a statutory body set up to safeguard the constitutional and legal rights of women.

  12. There is a urgent need for elected members of the Panchayat to be informed about the provisions of the Commission of Sati (prevention) Act, 1987 and also about their special responsibility as elected representatives even when there is a remote apprehension of impending possibility of Sati being committed.

  13. The Government functionaries working at the village level should be empowered to receive a complaint and forward it to the concerned authorities to avoid any delay.

  14. The Commission of Sati (prevention) Act, 1987 empowers the District Collector to demolish any structure constructed in memory of Sati The District Collector must ensure that no structure in memory of Sati be constructed. If there is any structure existing in the district, it must be demolished.

  15. Finally, a massive and intensive campaign against Sati needs to be organised through out the State and all the regions where people are victims of superstitious and archaic practices.
      (Poomima Advani) (Anusuiya Uike) (Baby Rani Mourya) Member. NCW Chairperson,NCW Member, NCW (Padma Seth) Expert


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