Calcutta High Court allows kin to perform last rites of Covid victims

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |

September 17, 2020 12:00:09 pm

A Division Bench of Chief Justice T B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee was listening to a writ petition on the alleged poor dealing with of Covid victims’ our bodies by the administration.

Observing that the appropriate to lead a dignified life prolonged to demise too, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday allowed households of Covid-19 victims to perform the last rites after taking precautions in opposition to the an infection.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice T B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee was listening to a writ petition on the alleged poor dealing with of Covid victims’ our bodies by the administration.

As of now, the last rites of Covid-19 victims are being carried out by municipal our bodies. Since June, the state authorities has allowed households to see the physique and pay their last respects.

The court docket dominated that if put up mortem was not required, the physique needs to be handed over to the household in a secured physique bag. Those dealing with the mortal stays wanted to take vital precautions akin to sporting gloves, masks and PPE fits, if accessible, stated the court docket.

“We are of the view that the right to live a dignified life extends up to the point of death, including the dignified procedure of death. We are inclined to interpret the phrase ‘dignified procedure of death’ in an expansive manner so as to include dignified disposal of the human remains of the deceased. We unhesitatingly hold that the mortal remains of a deceased person must be treated with care, respect and dignity and have to be disposed of by burial or burning, according to the religion, in so far as the same is ascertainable, that the deceased person practised. It makes no difference if the deceased person was infected with Covid-19. Of course, all requisite safety and precautionary measures must be taken by the persons who carry out the funeral,” learn a portion of the 20-page judgment.

“As regards the second issue, i.e., the relatives and friends of Covid-19 victims are not being permitted to have a last look at or carry out the last rites of the deceased; and that, the same should be permitted, the government notification dated June 6 already provides opportunity for the family members of the deceased to see the mortal remains and pay their last respects. In our considered view, the family members should be permitted to perform the last rites of a deceased notwithstanding that the deceased was infected with Covid-19. We proceed to delineate a specific reasoning in that regard,” learn the order.

“The traditional belief in our country is that unless the last rites are performed before the burial/ cremation, the soul of the deceased shall not rest in peace. This belief is deep rooted in our country. It also has an emotional and sentimental aspect. Hence, we firmly believe that the family members of a deceased who was infected with Covid-19 should not be deprived of the right to perform the last rites of the deceased, subject to them taking all necessary precautionary measures,” it added.

The court docket additionally stated the hearse would have to be decontaminated earlier than the physique was being taken to the crematorium or burial floor. It requested the state to make sure the workers of the crematorium or burial floor have been sensitised.

The High Court ordered the authorities to hold the face finish of the physique bag unzipped in order that the household might see it one last time. Rituals akin to studying holy scriptures, providing holy water or grains, and different such rituals that don’t require contact with the physique can be allowed, it stated.

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