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Bombay HC Reserves Judgment In Plea Seeking Prohibition On Burial Of Covid-19 Victims In Bandra Cemeteries

Nitish Kashyap
20 May 2020 3:52 PM GMT
Bombay HC Reserves Judgment In Plea Seeking Prohibition On Burial Of Covid-19 Victims In Bandra Cemeteries
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The Bombay High Court on Wednesday reserved judgment in a writ petition filed by a Mumbai resident challenging the permission granted by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to use three cemeteries in Bandra for burial of Covid-19 victims.

Division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice SS Shinde heard two other petitions along with the main petition filed by Bandra resident Pradeep Gandhy. While Gandhy has raised health and safety concerns involved in permitting burial of victims in a densely populated area like Bandra, the other two petitioners have opposed Gandhy's petition and sought implementation of the Corporations order.

MCGM had passed the said order granting permission for burial on April 9.

On Tuesday, appearing for MCGM, Senior Counsel AY Sakhare submitted an affidavit on behalf of the Corporation pointing out that burial of the said victims cannot lead to spread of virus in adjoining areas. The affidavit states-

"It is well established and declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) that Covid-19 virus is not air bound and hence transmission of the virus to other people staying in the vicinity of the burial ground is highly impossible.

The transmission cannot happen unless people in the locality come in direct contact with the body brought for burial or cremation. Direct contact of people staying in the locality with a body is impossible, as it is wrapped in plastic by hospital staff before handing it over to relatives for the last rites."

Gandhy had filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court after the High Court in an order April 27 refused to stop the burials while hearing his petition. In an order dated May 4, the Supreme Court had directed the High Court to decide Gandhy's plea expiditiously within two weeks.

Moreover, the Jumma Masjid Of Bombay Trust, Navpada Masjid Bandra & Santacruz Golibar Dargah Trust, Jamait Ulma Hind and Aftab Siddiqui have filed intervention applications in the matter which have been admitted.

After hearing the counsel for all parties, Court concluded the matter and judgement was reserved. 

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