The bill prohibiting protests with corpses passed in Rajasthan

The bill prohibiting protests with corpses passed in Rajasthan

Context : 

The Rajasthan Assembly on Thursday approved a Bill that forbids grieving family members from holding protests on public property or while seated next to the deceased in order to demand money or employment. All of this will be considered an offense, and the maximum sentence is five years in prison.

What us  Honour of Dead body bill?

  • Purpose: The purpose of the bill is to address the problem of grieving relatives holding demonstrations in public spaces or on roads to demand money or employment following unnatural deaths. These demonstrations were seen by the government as making “unjustified demands,” which was why legislation was required.
  • Prohibition of Protests: In order to avoid disturbances brought on by such demonstrations, the Bill forbids protests that include dead bodies on the streets or in other public spaces.
  • Punishment: The Bill makes it illegal to participate in protests with dead bodies in public areas, and those found guilty may be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.
  • Right to Last Rites: In order to avoid delays or obstructions in carrying out the last rites, the legislation emphasizes that every deceased person has the right to receive their last rites with dignity.
  • Support for the Bill: The government was inspired to introduce and adopt this legislation by the protests featuring dead bodies, which were frequently supported by political parties and social and community organizations.
  • Protests: A considerable increase in the frequency of protests that left dead bodies on the streets or outside police stations led to the need for the Bill. There were 82 of these accidents between 2014 and 2018, and there were 306 between 2019 and 2023.
  • Family Members Are Responsible: Under the Bill, the deceased person’s family members are required to perform the last rites as quickly as feasible, unless there are extraordinary circumstances that require a delay.
  • Enforcement of Last Rites: If the family members disobey the local police officer’s or executive magistrate’s orders to conduct the last rites, the public authority will conduct the last rites on their behalf.

Which articles protect the Honour of Dead body bill?

  • Article 21 of the Indian Constitution:
      1. Article  gives everyone the right to the protection of life and personal liberty. This fundamental right is incorporated in the Indian Constitution.
      2. Extending the Purview of the Right to Life: The courts have given the right to life as guaranteed by Article 21 several meanings.
      3. The Supreme Court broadened the definition of the right to life in Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh [1962], extending it to encompass the ability to live with dignity rather than just “animal existence.”
  • Right to live with human diginity:
      1. The right to life also encompasses the right to live with dignity, which states that everyone has the right to be treated fairly and with respect throughout their lives.
  • The Right to Life Continues After Death:
      1. The court acknowledged in the case of Common Cause (registered society) v. Union of India that the right to live with dignity extends even after death.
  • The significance of treating the deceased with respect and decency during the burial process was acknowledged by this acknowledgement.
  • Right to a Decent Burial: 
      1. According to Article 21, the right to a decent burial is a basic right.
      2. In Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan v. Union of India, the Supreme Court stressed the need of upholding the dead’s dignity in accordance with the proper religious customs and laws.
  • Proper Death Procedure:
      1. The requirement for a suitable death procedure that respects the deceased person’s religious customs and practices has been recognized by the courts.
      2. The deceased is given the proper funeral rites in accordance with their religious beliefs thanks to the right to a respectable burial.
  • Government’s Responsibility:
      1.  Article 21 highlights that the government has a duty to safeguard and defend people’s rights, even after they pass away.
      2. The state must make sure that dead people’s remains are handled with the same respect and decency as living ones.
  • Variations in Interpretations:
    1. Through judicial rulings and shifting community standards, Article 21’s interpretation and application may change over time.
    2. Courts may offer additional clarifications on particular issues pertaining to the right to life and a respectable funeral.