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COVID- "Follow State Govt's Guidelines For Disposal Of Dead Bodies; Come Out With Fresh Decision To Avoid Spread Of Infection": Jharkhand HC To State

Nupur Thapliyal
30 Jun 2021 8:49 AM GMT
COVID- Follow State Govts Guidelines For Disposal Of Dead Bodies; Come Out With Fresh Decision To Avoid Spread Of Infection: Jharkhand HC To State
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The Jharkhand High Court has directed the State Government to follow it's guidelines for disposal of dead bodies who have died due to covid 19 infection in 'full letter and spirit'. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad has also observed that the State must come out with a fresh decision to avoid the spread of covid while disposing of...

The Jharkhand High Court has directed the State Government to follow it's guidelines for disposal of dead bodies who have died due to covid 19 infection in 'full letter and spirit'. 

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad has also observed that the State must come out with a fresh decision to avoid the spread of covid while disposing of dead bodies.

"We are of the view that when the Government has formulated a guideline, it has to be followed in its letter and spirit." The bench said.

Furthermore, the Court observed thus:

"However, this Court is passing a direction for following the guideline dated 04.08.2020 for disposal of the dead body, but that does not preclude the State Government to come out with fresh decision in order to avoid the spread of infection in course of disposal of the dead body."

The development came in a PIL highlighting the concern that the Centre's guidelines "COVID-19: GUIDELINES ON DEAD BODY MANAGEMENT" were being flouted by the State as the same were not being complied with strictly leading to disrespect to the dead bodies.

The plea thus prayed for directions on the State Government to respect dead bodies of the COVID-19 deceased as well as their wards strictly as per the said guidelines and in conformity with Art. 21 of the Constitution of India.

Additionally, the plea also sought directions on the State to allow family members of the COVID-19 deceased, who are willing to claim the bodies, to perform the last customary rites as per their tradition and custom, with due safety, complying with the restrictions imposed by the Government.

In this regard, the plea sought a direction on State to issue guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure in respect to the disposal of dead body of COVID-19 positive person by their family.

As per the counter affidavit filed by the State of Jharkhand dated 3rd June, it was stated that the concerned raised in the petition was partially true and that the Covid-19 patients were handed over to the local administration by the hospitals and family members were not allowed to dispose of the dead body by themselves.

Considering the submissions made on behalf of the petitioner and the stand of the State Government, the Court ordered thus:

"In view thereof, taking into consideration the stand taken by the respondent nos.1 and 4 at paragraph 18 of the counter affidavit dated 16.06.2021 as also the guideline dated 04.08.2020, it will be suffice that the writ petition is disposed of directing the respondent concerned to follow the decision taken by the State Government dated 04.08.2020 for disposal of the dead bodies who die due to Covid-19 infection..."

Directing that the guidelines must be followed in full letter and spirit, the Court disposed of the petition accordingly.

Recently, the Allahabad High Court has refused to entertain a petition seeking disposal of the dead bodies buried near Ganga River at different ghats in Prayagraj, questioning the petitioner as to whether it is the State's responsibility if there is a death in a family.

Moreover, a plea has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking directions for constitution of a three-tier committee at Centre, state and Panchayat level to look after disposal of bodies with dignity. The plea has also urged the court to declare Ganga river bed an ecologically sensitive area, to be protected and preserved.

Title: Sitwanto Devi Mahila Kalyan Sansthan v.The State of Jharkhand & Ors.

Click Here To Read Order

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