Sridevi an icon of Indian cinema was laid to rest with full state honours on Wednesday. As the outpouring of grief continued, there was a debate in certain quarters about her body being draped in the Tri-Colour.
If one goes by the book, a state funeral is accorded only to current and former Prime Ministers, current and former union and state ministers. The rules however over the years have changed. It has now become the discretion of the state government to accord a state funeral.
In a state funeral, there is complete bandobast and the body of the deceased is draped in the National Flag.
The Flag Code of India states, "observances of State mourning on the death of foreign dignitaries are governed by special instructions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in individual cases. However, in the event of the death of either the Head of the State or Head of the Government of a foreign country, the Indian Mission accredited to that country may fly the National Flag at half-mast. On occasions of state, military, central para-military forces funerals, the flag shall be draped over the bier or coffin with the saffron towards the head of the bier or coffin. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or burnt in the pyre."
The first state funeral in India was accorded to Mahatma Gandhi. Since then, such funerals have been accorded only to those who have served in the government.
However, in the absence of any major clarity, state funerals over the years have been the discretion of the state government. The government takes into consideration the contribution made by the person in the field of science, cinema, literature, law, politics etc.