OFFENCES AGAINST DEAD CORPSE IN INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860
From time immemorial, it's far believed that corpses have the proper to relaxation undisturbed and unmolested. This consists of safeguarding the corpses from getting harmed or disrespected. Even withinside the tomb of the Christian network an inscription like RIP (Requiscat in Peace) which manner Rest in Peace may be seen. In the book Burial of the Dead written through William Henry Francis Besvi, it's far actually particular that Across history, cultures with nearly no different rituals in not unusual place deal with their useless with reverence, i.e., no matter the cultural and variations and the diverse rituals and practices accompanied through human beings throughout the globe, one of the not unusual place rituals are the treating of the deceased with recognize. The perception of recognize is so rooted that human beings even conform to deal lightly with our bodies in their enemies.
The dwelling individuals are given numerous rights beneath neath numerous laws, statutes and many others. Under Article 21 of the Constitution of India of the Indian Constitution, safety of lifestyles and private liberty is given to the citizens, which consists of proper to tour abroad, proper to privacy, proper in opposition to solitary confinement, proper to legal aid, proper to fast trial, proper in opposition to hand cuffing, proper in opposition to behind schedule execution, proper in opposition to custodial violence, proper to fitness and many others and those rights are inherent withinside the individuals assured to with the aid of using the Constitution of India and can’t be denied besides according with the method mounted with the aid of using law. Right to lifestyles that is the maximum essential of the rights and is likewise the maximum hard to define, accordingly it can not be conferred to a assure in opposition to the doing away with of lifestyles, it has to have a wider application. This consists of the enlargement of this proper to the useless humans i.e., protective the frame of the useless and treating it with dignity, which it turned into aware of earlier than the demise. The Supreme Court via numerous instances has held that the proper to dignity and truthful treatment beneath neath Article 21 of the Constitution of India of the Constitution of India of India isn't always most effective to be had to a dwelling guy however additionally to his frame after his demise and the phrase and expression character in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, could encompass a useless character in a confined feel and that his rights to his lifestyles which incorporates his proper to stay with human dignity, to have an prolonged which means to deal with his useless frame with respect, which he could have deserved, had he been alive challenge to his tradition, subculture and the religion, which he professed.
UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE
Trespassing a burial place, place of worship and place of sepulchre is a cognizable offence under Section 297 of the Indian Penal Code, it clearly prohibits irreverence to dead bodies . Trespassing means any violent or injurious act and entering into a place where, the funeral rites are performed or as a depository for the remains of the dead or offers any indignity to any human corpse or causes disturbance to any other persons, who are assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies and with an intention to wound the feelings of any person.
Thus, the right to decent burial comes under the Indian Penal Code. But who is authorized to decent burial is not mentioned anywhere in the law, Generally, this right will go to the living spouse or to the next kin.
Section 297 of the Indian Penal Code does not punish the acts which are mere of earthly vanity or pride of a particular. A person prosecuted under this section can be punished for imprisonment either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. Recently the Madras High Court in a case of a doctor, who got died due to COVID-19 infection, where a large mob assembled and opposed the burial of the body had observed that “the scope and ambit of Article 21 of the Constitution of India includes the right to have a decent burial”, the court also invoked and highlighted Section 297 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Section 404 of the Indian Penal Code deals with dishonest misappropriation of a dead man’s property . The object behind Section 404, INDIAN PENAL CODE OF THE YEAR 1860is to afford protection of property which by reason of its being peculiarly needs protection where the person who could look after it is dead and the person, who is expected and entitled to look after it after the death of the aforesaid person has not appeared on the scene. A person prosecuted under Section 404 of INDIAN PENAL CODE OF THE YEAR 1860, can be punished with imprisonment either description for a term which may extend to 3 years and also shall liable to fine and if the offender is a clerk or a servant of the deceased person, the imprisonment may extend up to 7 years.
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with defamation, also defines that libel or slander against a dead person also contributes the offence of defamation. In Mrs Pat Sharpe V. D Nath Bose, the court held that, “even if Netaji is dead, it is defamation because the imputation would have harmed his reputation if alive and the imputation must be said to have been intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives”. Thus, in any view of the matter the words used do amount to defamation. Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with criminal intimidation, which also includes threatening a person with injuring the reputation of a dead person dear to him as an offence. The simple intimidation without real intention to cause alarm cannot bring the act under criminal intimidation. The mere exchange of words cannot be constructed as criminal intimidation. Any person who commits offence under Section 503 of INDIAN PENAL CODE OF THE YEAR 1860 shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 2 years or with fine or with both.
CAMPUS LAW CENTRE
UNIVERSITY OF DELHI