Decide plea against corona victims’ burial in two weeks, SC to Bombay HC

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Bombay High Court to examine and decide within two weeks a plea challenging its interim order declining interim ban on burial of bodies of Covid-19 patients in cemeteries in Mumbai’s Bandra West.

Pradeep Gandhy moved the top court, through advocate Udayaditya Banerjee, stating the current unprecedented health situation ought to take precedence over the religious rights of the deceased’s family members. Gandhy, who is a resident of densely-populated Bandra West, filed an appeal against the April 27 order of the Bombay High Court rejecting his prayer at the interim stage.

A Bench of Justices R.F. Nariman and Indira Banerjee took up the matter through video conferencing, orally observed since the order was passed at an interim stage and in the absence of any affidavit by the state or the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, it would be appropriate for the High Court to decide on this plea within two weeks.

The petition contended there is no research to support that the infection would not spread from the buried infected bodies through the soil and underground water.

The petitioner argued that though there may be no scientific basis to support the claim, and it is better to be ‘safe rather than sorry’ in extraordinary times, where there is no vaccine for the disease.

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind had also moved the apex court seeking to intervene in this plea. Ghandy had argued that the burial of Covid-19 patients in the graveyard in Bandra West would spread to the outbreak of the virus in the adjoining areas.

The Muslim body, seeking to intervene on the matter, said that the apprehension related to the spreading of the virus due to burial of bodies of those infected with COVID-19 is unfounded, and insisted that there is no risk during the burial.

The Muslim body said the burial of dead bodies is essential to the religion of Islam, and it is also an essential practice of other religions such as Christianity. The plea said that such a right forms part of the right to practice one’s religion under Article 25 of the Constitution.

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