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COVID-19: Delhi High Court Closes Plea Seeking Infrastructural Facilities To Handle Dead Bodies In Wake Of Pandemic

Nupur Thapliyal
14 Sep 2022 1:00 PM GMT
COVID-19: Delhi High Court Closes Plea Seeking Infrastructural Facilities To Handle Dead Bodies In Wake Of Pandemic
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday disposed of a petition filed last year during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic seeking directions to the Delhi Government to formulate and implement an effective plan with sufficient infrastructure to provide certain facilities pertaining to the dead bodies infected from COVID including mortuary, funeral, transportation and handling facilities.A...

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday disposed of a petition filed last year during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic seeking directions to the Delhi Government to formulate and implement an effective plan with sufficient infrastructure to provide certain facilities pertaining to the dead bodies infected from COVID including mortuary, funeral, transportation and handling facilities.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad closed the PIL filed by lawyer Mujeeb ur Rehman who alleged that during the peak of pandemic last year, city's population was severely suffering due to the lack of facilities regarding mortuaries and funeral facilities including lack of dead body transportation and handling facilities.

During the course of hearing today, the petitioner appearing in person urged the Bench to impose heavy cost on Delhi Government for its failure to file response in the matter, thereby rendering the same as infructuous.

As the Bench refrained from imposing any cost, it noted that since the COVID-19 pandemic was almost over at the present, no further orders are required to be passed in the matter.

The Court however granted liberty to the petitioner to take recourse to remedies available under the law in case any need arises in future.

The plea had sought the following facilities to be made available through the plan, in respect of dead bodies:

• A dedicated 24x7 telephone helpline number to provide services and transportation facility and Dedicated teams of trained people

• Preparing sufficient mortuaries, funeral places for respectful cremation.

• Invite NGOs and Volunteers and trained them with necessary training so they can be resourceful in performing this social service.

The plea had cited the example a person named Laxman Tiwari, whose family succumbed to covid, and no one stepped to help him wither their cremation. After 22 hours of absolute misery and despair and SOS calls, his parents finally got a 'respectful' farewell.

"The sight of a four-year-old staring at the decaying corpses of his grandparents for almost a day while his father begs and pleads with neighbours and strangers for help is nothing but a slur on humanity. This writ petition will be beneficial for all such people like Laxman Tiwari and his 4-year-old-son in turn public at large" the plea had stated.

Case Title: Mujeeb ur Rehman v. GNCTD

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 866

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