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Litigation News

[COVID-19] Delhi HC directs Delhi Govt to explain slow rate of disposal of dead bodies

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has directed Delhi Government to give reasons for the slow rate of disposal of COVID-19 related dead bodies at crematoriums in the city.

An explanation was sought after the Court noted that as on May 31, 2020, out of total 45 dead bodies only 7 were cremated.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice, Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan was hearing a suo motu petition on the "highly dissatisfactory" storage and cremation facilities for those who have died on account of COVID-19.

Suo motu cognizance was taken by the High Court after it noted that bodies of those who had died as far as 5 days ago were yet to be cremated and inside the largest COVID-19 mortuary of Lok Nayak Hospital (LNJP), all 80 storage racks were full, with 28 more bodies on the floor, piled on top of each other.

The Court recorded that as per Delhi Government's submission, besides Nigam Bodh Ghat crematorium, Pachkuiyan and Punjabi Bagh crematoriums had also been authorized to dispose of the dead bodies of persons who had either passed away on account of COVID-19 or there was a suspicion of the same.

Delhi Government also stated that timings of the crematoriums had also been increased.

The Court, however, noted that as on May 31, 2020, out of total 45 dead bodies only 7 were disposed of and 10 new dead bodies were received.

It thus ordered,

We would like to know from the respondents the reasons for slow disposal of these dead bodies. We, therefore, direct the respondents to file further status report/affidavit..
Delhi High Court

The Delhi Government has also been asked to state if it was following its own guidelines issued on May 30, on the disposal of dead bodies.

"It is one thing to issue the directions/guidelines and it is absolutely a different thing to ensure the execution of those directions. We are not burdening the respondents by adding any further directions to the directions already issued by the respondent No.1 on 30th May, 2020. However, what we expect from the respondents is, proper execution of those guidelines/directions so that the aforesaid dead bodies may be disposed of at the earliest and the relatives of those persons who have expired should be informed and other formalities be completed immediately.", the Court said.

The matter would be heard next on June 15.

Read the order:

Court on its own motion - cremation an storage of COVID-19 dead- June 2.pdf
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