Actress Sridevi was accorded a State Funeral and the National Flag was draped around her coffin. Was she accorded the state funeral because she was a Padma awardee? Here is a fact check.
Actress Sridevi was accorded a ‘State Funeral’ and the national flag was draped around her body. Twitter was abuzz with speculation that the ‘State Funeral’ to Sridevi was because of her being a Padma Awardee. Is it true that Padma awardees are accorded a ‘State Funeral’? Here is a Fact Check.
What is a ‘State Funeral’?
A ‘State Funeral’ is one where the government will make all arrangements for a funeral along with escort, a procession etc. Detailed instructions are issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs about the individuals eligible for a state funeral, process to be followed among other things.
The main procession will normally start from the residence of the deceased or the place where the body is lying. The body will be brought escorted by a small party in vehicles. The strength of the escort is different for different people as defined in the instructions. For all state funerals, the coffin is suitably draped by a national flag of the appropriate size. It has to be noted that draping of the national flag is only allowed in a ‘State/Military/Central Para Military Forces’ funerals. Draping of the national flag in any other private funeral is an offense.
Who is eligible for a State Funeral?
As per the rules, a ‘State Funeral’ is be accorded in the event of the death of the President, Prime Minister, a former President or a Governor. At the same time, it is the prerogative of the government to order a state funeral for any other dignitary or individual. Hence, many other individuals are accorded state funeral apart from those mentioned in the relevant rules. Detailed rules are laid down for the process to be followed in the event of death of various dignitaries holding high public offices. Rules are laid down for the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Speaker, Governor, Chief Minister of a State etc.
Half-Masting of the National Flag
In the event of the death of a set of dignitaries, the national flag is half-masted at various places as indicated in the rules.
When Anil Madhav Dave, the then Minister for Environment, passed away in 2017, a communication was sent by the Home Ministry for half-masting the flag. Holidays are also declared to various government offices in the case of the death of a dignitary holding a high office.
Fact Check: Padma Award & State Funeral
As is clear from the rules, there is no state funeral for a Padma Awardee. It is purely a prerogative/discretion of the government. Over the years, it has become a precedent to accord the state funeral to well known individuals based on public sentiment. Even in the case of Sridevi, the state funeral is a result of such public sentiment and not because of her Padma award.