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Report No. 81


Historical Background of the Hindu widows Re-Marriage Act, 1856.1

1. Based on National Archives File relating to Act 15 of 1856, Vols. 1 and 2.

I. Introductory

Indian Law Commissioners 1837.- The subject of removing legal obstacles to the performance of marriage of Hindu widows came to be noticed-though in a peripheral way-by the Indian Law Commissioners who with Lord Macaulay in the lead were primarily seized of the problem of codifying the penal laws of India. The Sudder Nizamut Adawlut court in the north-western provinces informed the Law Commissioners that child murder was a prevalent crime in the provinces under their jurisdiction and had recommended that the endeavour of a woman to conceal the birth of her dead child by secretly disposing of its body should be made a misdemeanour. The court wanted the law which was in force under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of each Presidency and the Recorders' court in the Straits to be made applicable to the possessions of the East Indian Company.

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