PIL in SC seeks to Protect Rights of the Dead

Deepali Kalia

A plea has been filed in the Apex court highlighting the issue of overcharging for cremations and burials of the dead and ambulance services amid the pandemic.

The plea also seeks directions to the Centre for formulation of a policy in order to protect the rights of the dead.

The plea filed by NGO Distress Management Collective based in Delhi-NCR through advocate Jose Abraham stated that, “In view of the fact that issue of floating dead bodies in River Ganga has attracted unwanted global media attention, it is imperative that this Hon’ble Apex court directs the Centre to consider the gravity of the issue and enact a law that ensures dignity and the rights of the dead.”

The plea further claimed that, “It is deeply depressing to see people putting bodies of their beloved ones in rivers like Ganga due to lack of money. It is primarily due to exorbitant amounts asked for cremation and ambulance services that scores of people decided to put the bodies of their beloved in the river Ganga.”

The plea also stated that The National Human Rights Commission issued an advisory on 14th May 2021 emphasizing that the dignity and rights of the dead should be protected and upheld and gave 11 recommendations to the Centre and all States and UTs.

The plea alleged that the authorities have taken no action to tackle the issue “of undue profiteering by unscrupulous caretakers at crematoriums because of which many are unable to cremate or bury their beloved.”

The plea stated that they had approached the Delhi High Court in the same matter with regard to the capitol and the High Court had on May 6 given them the liberty to appropriate representation to the concerned Municipal Corporation.

According to the petitioner when they had approached 4 Municipal Corporations they were not acknowledged and had gotten no response.

The plea also cited earlier verdicts of the Supreme Court which stressed that dignity of the dead must be maintained.

“There is a dire need to enact a specific legislation that protects the rights of the dead, and there is also a need for issuance of guidelines to all states and UTs to prescribe rates for cremations and ambulance services along with penal actions for non-compliance at the earliest.” The plea stated.

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