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SC Allows ‘Antim Darshan’ Of Ganga Campaigner Late Swami Sanand In AIIMS Hospital Itself, Subject To Restrictions [Read Order]

We, therefore, permit the aforesaid arrangement, namely, darshan by 10 (ten) followers in a group subject to a limit of 50 (fifty) followers within the hospital premises for a period of one hour every Sunday for the next 10 consecutive Sundays meaning thereby a total of 500 (five hundred) followers.”

The Supreme Court on Friday, allowed followers of Late Swami Sanand, a spiritual leader cum environmentalist, who had expired while on his fast unto death to save Ganga, to have ‘Antim Darshan’ in the AIIMS Hospital premises for ten Sundays.

Professor G.D. Agarwal also known as Swami Sanand, had executed a will donating his body after his death to the Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh (AIIMS, Rishikesh) for teaching and research purposes.

After his death, his followers moved Uttarakhand High Court seeking a direction to hand over his body to them for being kept at Matri Sadan, Haridwar for ‘Antim Darshan’ for three days. The High Court allowed this plea and directed them to return the body to AIIMS, Rishikesh after three days.

An urgent mentioning was made before the Apex Court on behalf of AIIMS, Rishikesh, on 26th October, contending that if the direction of High Court is implemented, it would lead to decomposition of the dead body which would become unsuitable for medical research. The Apex court had then stayed the order of the High court.

On Friday, an application was filed by followers of Swami Sanand, seeking for permission for ‘last darshan’ of the departed spiritual leader which would be an opportunity for the followers to pay their last respects.

The CJI headed bench observed: “While the above stand of the followers of the deceased will have to be respected, at the same time, the death wish of the deceased that his body is to be used for medical research also has to be respected.”

The bench then interacted with AIIMS Doctors who said that the body if disturbed from its present location and if the outer cover in which the body is preserved is to be removed decomposition will set in. But they said that, on a Sunday when no teaching activity is undertaken 10 followers subject to a maximum limit of 50 followers may be allowed to have ‘darshan’ within the hospital premises and such ‘darshan’ can be for a period of one hour.

The bench then directed: “This arrangement can adequately safeguard the wishes of the respondent-writ petitioner and other followers without causing any damage to the body so far as the medical research is concerned. We, therefore, permit the aforesaid arrangement, namely, darshan by 10 (ten) followers in a group subject to a limit of 50 (fifty) followers within the hospital premises for a period of one hour every Sunday for the next 10 consecutive Sundays meaning thereby a total of 500 (five hundred) followers.”

Read the Order Here

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