Bollywood diva Sridevi was accorded a state funeral on the directions from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's office, as per the reply to a query under the Right to Information Act.
Anil Galgali, a city-based RTI activist, had sought to know from the state's General Administration Department (GAD) the details of the state funeral accorded to Sridevi, and who is authorised to permit this honour.
The GAD said the power to grant state funeral for a person lies with the chief minister. Regarding Sridevi's funeral, a verbal order was received from the chief minister's office on February 25, and it was conveyed to the Mumbai suburban collector and Mumbai police commissioner by a government order on February 26, said the GAD's reply.
In the last six years, 41 persons were granted state funeral in the state, it said. They included former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and A R Antulay, Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Vipassana Guru Satyanarayan Goenka and Dawoodi Bohra community's spiritual head Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin.
Brijesh Singh, Director General of DGIPR, the state government's publicity wing, said there are rules as to who should get a state funeral, and the chief minister can use his discretion in the matter.
Some persons get state funeral upon death by virtue of the post or the political/administrative office they have held.
"The rules also give a discretion to the CM regarding granting the honour of state funerals to certain dignitaries not in this list. Padma awardees are concerned to be
dignitaries who may be accorded state funeral at the discretion of the CM," Singh told PTI.
Sridevi was a Padma Shri recipient. The actor died in her room at a Dubai hotel due to accidental drowning on February 24, and was given a state funeral in suburban Vile Parle here on February 28.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray, at a rally earlier this month, had questioned the decision to give Sridevi a state funeral.
She was a great actor, but what she had done for the country so that her body was wrapped in the tri-colour, Thackeray asked, while criticising the BJP-led governments in the state and the Centre on many issues.
(With PTI Inputs)