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Civil societies pressuring locals, inciting ethnic tensions: Supreme Court appointed panel on Manipur Violence aftermath

Law governing last rites in such cases

Section 160 of the Manipur Municipalities Act, 1994, empowers the local civc body to carry out burials or burning of the poor and unclaimed dead bodies. This, the law directs, will be done “free of charge, within the limits of the municipality or otherwise arrange to dispose of as it thinks fit”.

In addition, Section 161 of the Act, empowers the municipal body to perform last rites according to a deceased’s religious tenets. 

After the expiration of not less than twenty-four hours from the death of any person, the Nagar Panchayat or as the case may be, council may cause the corpse of such person to be burnt or buried, and the expenses thereby incurred shall be recoverable as a debt due from the estate of such person. In every such case, the corpse shall be disposed of, so far as may be possible in manner consistent with the religious tenets of the deceased,” it states.

Referring to these provisions, the panel, therefore, argued that “failure to perform the last rites of the deceased in a dignified manner” would amount to disrespect besides preserving the mortal remains had exerted “huge strain” on the “already stretched” state resources. 

Source: Barandbench

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