The Supreme Court has taken suo moto cognizance on reports of alleged mishandling of Covid-19 affected dead Bodies.
The case titled "In Re Proper Treatment Of COVID-19 Patients And Dignified Handling Of Dead Bodies In The Hospitals, Etc." is listed for hearing tomorrow at 10.30 AM before the bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah.
Earlier, former Law Minister Senior Advocate Dr. Ashwani Kumar has written a letter drawing the attention of the Court towards various reported incidents, whereby persons suffering from Covid19 infection are being ill-treated and their dead bodies are being manhandled.
Senior Advocate has drawn the attention of the CJI towards a tragic indecent in Madhya Pradesh where an elderly man suffering from Covid was tied to a bed, after he allegedly failed to make payment of fees for his treatment.
Similarly in the Union Territory of Puducherry, he pointed out, a vide had surfaced whereby government workers could be seen throwing the body of a COVID-19 positive man into a pit.
"The tragic and condemnable sight of a Covid-19 patient being chained to a bed in a hospital in Madhya Pradesh and another sight in Puducherry of a dead body being thrown in a pit for burial, has shocked the conscience of the Republic committed to human dignity under the Constitution, which recognizes dignity as a core constitutional value at the pinnacle in the hierarchy of non-negotiable constitutional rights," the letter states.
Dr. Kumar has also raised concern over the reported piling up of bodies in hospitals and mortuaries, non-availability of cremation/ burial grounds and reported non-functioning of electric crematoriums constitute disheartening and an unacceptable violation of Right to Die with Dignity.
He has emphasized that as upheld by the Madras High Court recently in a Suo-Motu PIL and Bombay High Court in Pradeep Gandhy v. State of Maharashtra,
Right to die with dignity embracing right to decent burial or cremation, is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
He has stated that even the Supreme Court has on multiple occasions recognized the "right to die with dignity" as a fundamental right and has asserted that the Court has the "duty and the power" to ensure that the law declared by it is actually enforced.
"It is requested that the Court takes suo-motu notice of the matter. In view of the shocking infraction of the fundamental right to dignity…Your Lordships are respectfully requested, to issue such orders, writs or other directions as will effectuate the citizens' right to die with dignity," the letter reads.