Published On: Tue, Apr 8th, 2014


In a first-of-its-kind case a historic decision by british court as, a
Hindu prisoner being held in a British jail has won the right to
perform the last rites at his father’s funeral following a major legal

Joginder Paul Kashyap, serving a default prison sentence over
non-payment of a confiscation order at Oakwood prison near the West
Midlands city of Wolverhampton, was given immediate permission this
week to be “chief mourner” and have his handcuffs removed to take part
in the rituals of the Hindu funeral. The 57-year-old had originally
been told by the prison that he could only attend the cremation while
handcuffed and accompanied by two guards. He launched judicial review
proceedings and a judge ruled earlier this week that the original
decision was wrong.

Kashyap’s claim was backed by the Hindu Council (UK), which gave
scriptural advice on the basis that “it could not be in dispute that
the eldest son performs the funeral rites where the offspring consists
of sons and that he must be allowed to do so with dignity”.In a
statement Kashyap said, “As eldest son, it is my sacred duty (indeed
privilege) to act as ‘chief mourner’ and perform the requisite ritual
to ensure my father receives a ‘good death’ according to our shared
religious beliefs. The chief mourner (eldest son) alone must perform
the requisite last rites necessary for the deceased’s soul to be
liberated and ultimately reincarnated. Without full and proper
performance of the last rites, my father’s soul cannot be liberated
from his body or find peace.

The case, believed to be the first of its kind, is expected to have
wide-reaching repercussions on similar cases across the Uk. The
prisoner’s legal team had argued that the decision of the prison was
incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

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