Supreme Court Overruled Delhi HC Order to Shift Masoodpur Crematorium Situated in Vasant Kunj

Supreme Court LAW INSIDER

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 22 October 2022 at 11:07 IST

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation was directed to relocate the century-old crematorium at Masoodpur village in the affluent Vasant Kunj area to Kishangarh by a Delhi High Court order that was quashed by the Supreme Court on Friday, but the civic body was ordered to convert it into a contemporary electric crematorium within a year.

Vasant Kunj’s Federation of Residents Welfare Association was successful in its appeal of the Delhi High Court’s 2003 decision to move the crematorium. The HC order was overruled by a bench of Justices M R Shah and MM Sundresh, who noted that the crematorium existed before the affluent residential development. It stated that there wouldn’t be any crematoriums left inside the city limits if every resident association wanted to shift out of it.

The bench ruled that the municipal corporation must no longer follow the high court’s order to relocate the crematorium from Masoodpur to Kishangarh. However, we also give the Municipal Corporation the go-ahead to upgrade the crematorium by converting it to an electric crematorium, which will serve the wider public interest of the villages and nearby neighbors. The aforementioned exercise will be done twelve months from today.

According to Justice Shah, who gave this decision said that the Masoodpur Crematorium existed long before the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, came into effect, and the Vasant Kunj residential colonies were established in 1990.

“Merely because subsequently the residents of Vasant Kunj/locality have started residing, it cannot be a ground to shift the crematorium and/or not to use the crematorium at Masoodpur,” he said.

Senior advocate Karan Singh Bhati argued that the crematorium was near to the residential location of Vasant Kunj and could become a health hazard for the residents of the colonies. Delhi Development Authority, which had allowed the land at Kishangarh for crematorium purposes, had supported shifting of the crematorium from Masoodpur.

However, the bench accepted Vandana Sehgal, counsel for the corporation, arguments that the Standing Committee of the Corporation has exclusive power to decide in this matter.

According to the bench, the Standing Committee made a deliberate decision to keep the crematorium open on the grounds that (i) Masoodpur cremation ground has not become dangerous to the health of people living in the neighborhood; (ii) it has been in operation for a while; and (iii) its continued operation is in the interests of the general public.

The HC shouldn’t have insisted on relocating the crematorium to Kishangarh when the Standing Committee made the deliberate decision under Section 391 of the 1957 Act not to close the crematorium at Masoodpur, the SC argued.

Related Post