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‘Entire Delhi a Graveyard’: PIL in HC Seeks Dignified Cremations

With COVID-19 deaths seeing a sharp increase in the country, Delhi’s crematoriums are falling short on space. 

Updated
India
2 min read
COVID cremation ground in New Delhi.
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As COVID-related horrors continue to unfold in the country, a petition filed by advocate Pratyush Prasanna before the Delhi High Court seeks to ensure that all COVID-19 deaths in the NCT are dealt with in a dignified manner, invoking the constitutionally guaranteed right to die with dignity.

The plea, filed against the State of NCT of Delhi, Union of India, National Disaster Management Authority among others, observes,“The entire city has turned into a graveyard and the people of Delhi are not even getting to perform the last rites and rituals with dignity of their loved ones.”

The plea alleges that the steep rise in COVID cases and the resulting deaths has led to "backlog of dead bodies" leading to even the largest of city’s crematoriums turning away bodies or charging higher amounts for the ritual, LiveLaw reported.

Cremation ground for pets are being used to cremate victims of the virus, the plea adds.

It states, "Due to the backlogs, the bodies are even asked to be kept in AC room for a night as there is no space in the hospital mortuary for the same to be kept or for that matter any other mortuary in the state,” LiveLaw quoted.

Therefore, the petitioner has sought an urgent increase in the number of mortuaries, and crematoriums across the national capital, by converting parks, fields, stadiums etc as cremation sites.

The plea also seeks regulated supply of wood and other materials necessary for a person's last rites, as well as other reliefs.

Inter alia, the petition seeks a direction to the Respondent authorities to ensure that there is no jurisdictional issue in cremations, and no waiting time for the people who have arrived at the site with the body, LiveLaw reported.

Further, the plea appeals for the creation of helpline numbers, mobile applications and portals dedicated towards information regarding cremation sites, burial sites etc.

The matter is likely to be heard on 4 May.

As the infections see an unprecedented surge in the country, with over 3 lakh cases being recorded every day since the past week, hospitals and crematoriums are overflowing with the sick and the dead.

The Indian healthcare system is rendered overburdened, with various hospitals issuing SOS calls for lack of oxygen, medicines and other healthcare supplies.

(With inputs from LiveLaw)

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