A State funeral in India is held for the people of national significance, such as former prime ministers, presidents, union ministers, and state chief ministers. But over the years, the laws have been relaxed, and the state government decides who will get a state funeral.
The government takes into account the contributions made by the deceased in various fields like science, politics, law, and literature. The chief minister makes the necessary decisions along with the cabinet ministers and then conveys them to the senior police officials, who are responsible for making all the arrangements for the state funeral.
A State funeral generally gets mass publicity from national and global media. The event is a mix of religious ceremonies along with distinctive military elements. Here are some of the followed in the event of a state funeral.
- As per the flag code of India, the national flag is flown at half-mast. The President of India is responsible for deciding the period for which the flag is hosted.
- The announcement of a public holiday during national mourning has been restricted to the demise of the current prime minister or president. In case a state dignitary passes away, the government can decide to declare a public holiday.
- The body of the deceased is placed in a state building, either inside or outside the coffin to allow people to pay respects. The coffin is draped with the national flag, with the color saffron towards the head. The flag should not be burned in the pyre or lowered in the grave.
- When the deceased is being cremated or buried, they are honored with a gun salute typically policemen.
The state funeral is attended by the gazetted officers of the government. After the state funeral, a gazette notification is issued by the government announcing the demise. A recent state funeral was held for the former president Pranab Mukherjee who passed away on 31st August 2020.