Death row prisoner: Can family claim the body?

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Bengaluru, July 30: Is the family within its rights to claim the body of a death row convict? The Model Prison Manual for the Superintendence and Management of Prisons in India lays down the guidelines regarding a body of a death row convict being claimed.

There are various clauses that are present before which the jail authorities will decide on whether the body of a convict on a death row be handed over to the family or not.

Also read: Live updates on Yakub Memon's execution

Death row prisoner

What clause 11.67 states?

Clause 11.67 which deals with Disposal of Body states that if the executed prisoner's relatives make a written application for performing the last rites, the Superintendent may, in his discretion, allow such request, provided that the relatives give an undertaking in writing that they will not make a public demonstration at cremation / burial.

In cases where the Superintendent thinks that there is a likelihood of a public demonstration, he has the authority to refuse such permission.

In cases of disposal of the body of executed prisoner, in whose case there is likelihood of public demonstration, the Superintendent shall consult the District Magistrate and arrangements for the disposal of the body shall be made according the requirements of the situation.

In such event, the Superintendent shall act in accordance with the instructions of the District Magistrate.

What Clause 11.68 states?

Clause 11.68 it states that the body of the executed prisoner shall be taken out of the prison with all solemnity. A municipal hearse or ambulance shall be used for the transportation of the body to the cremation / burial ground.

The Superintendent is authorized to incur all reasonable expenditure required for the transportation and disposal of the dead body.

Also read: Yakub Memon hanged: 5 things Supreme Court told at late night hearing

Intimating the family

Once the execution is complete the family members shall be informed about the same. In the days of the telegram the same would be sent. However any communication shall have the words, ‘Death sentence.'

In all cases receipts of orders communicating the rejection of petitions shall invariably be acknowledged by registered letter.

Telephonic orders regarding prisoners shall be confirmed by telephoning back to the concerned authority in the Government.

A distinctive red envelop with the words ‘Death Sentence' and ‘Immediate' marked on the top left and right hand corners respectively, shall be used in death sentence cases.

All Superintendents shall make special arrangements to ensure that communication received in these distinctive envelopes are received in the prison at any time of the day or night either by the Deputy Superintendent or in his absence by the Assistant Superintendent in charge who:-

-shall note the time and date of receipt of the communication in the receipt register, and

-shall immediately place the communication before the Superintendent, or in his absence the officer next below him, for orders.

-the prisoner and his relatives will be informed about the date of execution by the Superintendent

-no prisoner sentenced to death shall be executed on a public holiday.

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