The prison manual, which governs the life of a convict inside the prison, mentions that after the execution of a death penalty the body of the convict has to be handed to its claimants — family members or legal heirs. However, the exception is offenders involved in crime against the nation, whose dead body if handed over to their kin or taken out of prison, could lead to a law and order situation. In such a case, the Union Government coordinates with the state government to ensure there is no law and order problem due to the punishment of the accused.
Additional inspector general of prisons (Pune) R T Dhamne said, “The prison manual provides for return of the body of the hanged convicted if there is a claimant. However, in the last two executions in Maharashtra — Ajmal Kasab in 2012 and Sudhakar Joshi in 1995 both at the Yerwada Prison — there were no claimants to their bodies. Thus the state government buried/cremated them inside the prison at state expenses.”
In Maharashtra as per rule 15 (II) of the Maharashtra Prison (Prisoners sentenced to death), 1971, “If any relative of the executed convict makes a written application for his last rites the superintendent may in his discretion allow such request, provided that a relative gives an undertaking in writing that he shall not make public demonstration of any kind in relation to the cremation or burial of the executed convict. In case the superintendent thinks there is a likelihood of public demonstration he may refuse such permission and his discretion shall be final.”
The rules have also laid down ways to handle the disposal of the body of the executed. Rule 15 (III) states, “In any case of the disposal of the body of an executed convict, there is a likelihood of public demonstration. The superintendent shall consult a district magistrate and the arrangement for the disposal of the body shall be made according to the requirements of the situation as per the directions given by the district magistrate.”