Pained at state of affairs: HC on COVID-19 dead bodies

Delhi High Court takes suo motu cognisance of disrespect shown to bodies of COVID-19 victims

The Delhi High Court has said it was "pained at the state of affairs" showing piles of undisposed dead bodies of those died of COVID-19 in hospitals, mortuary and crematoriums. 

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A bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Asha Menon termed the situation as "highly dissatisfactory and violative of the rights of the dead".

The court decided to take suo moto cognizance of violations of human rights.

It issued notice to the Delhi government as well as municipal corporations to pass necessary directions on Friday.

The court has taken note of news reports stating that inside the COVID-19 mortuary of Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi, there are 108 bodies; all 80 storage racks are full and there are 28 bodies on the floor, piled on top of each other.

It also considered that on May 26, eight bodies were returned from Nigam Bodh Ghat, CNG crematorium because the facility was not in a position to accept more bodies, as only two of the six furnaces were working.

It was also reported that bodies of those who died five days ago, were yet to be cremated. 

The court also considered that the backlog in the disposal of bodies has been caused owing to non-functioning of CNG furnaces at Nigam Bodh and Punjabi Bagh crematoriums.

Further, owing to the CNG furnaces not functioning, wood-based cremation, which earlier was not deemed safe, has been permitted. In spite of the same being permitted, the personnel operating the said crematoriums were refusing to take part in wood-based cremations. Moreover, there was unrest at the Nigam Bodh Ghat and the staff and priests working there have stopped functioning.

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