What is a ‘State Funeral’?

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The former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was accorded a ‘state funeral’. Even actress Sridevi was accorded a state funeral. But what is state funeral all about? Who is accorded a state funeral? Here is a low down.

The former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was accorded a ‘state funeral’. Even actress Sridevi was accorded a state funeral. But what is state funeral all about? Who is accorded a state funeral? Here is a low down.

Who is accorded a state funeral?
A state funeral is one where the funeral arrangements are made strictly according to protocol like an escort, procession, gun salute among other things. The National Flag is also draped in all state funerals. As per the rules, a state funeral is to 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.This is the reason why many other dignitaries like former ministers & celebrities like Sridevi are accorded a state funeral.
What happens after the death of a dignitary?
After the death of a dignitary, a gazette notification is issued by the government announcing the death. The notification is issued with a black border. For instance, in the case of the death of former PM Vajpayee, a gazette notification was issued by the government.

Similarly, state mourning is also declared along with instructions for half masting the national flag. In certain cases, a public holiday is also declared by the government. Similar procedure is followed when state governments declare a state funeral. Because of the urgent nature of the issue, the government usually sends a wireless message to all the states & other government departments about the national mourning, half masting the flag etc.

Detailed rules laid down for procedure to be followed
Once the Ministry of Home Affairs issues the gazette notification, the Ministry of Defence makes relevant arrangements for the funeral. Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Defence Minister was personally overseeing the arrangements in the funeral of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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 dignitaries 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 offence.
The procedure detailed in the guidelines is categorized into 3 broad areas, the process to be followed in terms of  forming up of the procession at the residence of the deceased, the order of march during the procession from the residence of the deceased to the designated place and the procedure to be followed at the burial/cremation ground in terms of gun salute, placing wreaths etc.

The procedure also details the designated places for people to sit and observe the cremation at the burial ground when religious rituals take place.

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you for the rare information.shoul have mentioned the name of the Act from which the sections have need quoted above.

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