SC nixes plea on policy to protect rights of the dead

SC refuses to consider plea on policy to protect rights of the dead

NGO Trust Distress Management Collective filed a plea stressing enactment of a specific legislation, which protected the rights of the dead

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea seeking directions to frame a policy to protect the rights of the dead, amid reports of floating of corpses in river Ganga during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench of Justices Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta said the problem was serious, but the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was the appropriate forum to take care of this.

NGO Trust Distress Management Collective filed a plea stressing enactment of a specific legislation, which protected the rights of the dead.

The petition also asked the court to issue guidelines to all the states and UTs to prescribe rates for cremation and ambulance services, along with penal actions for non-compliance at the earliest.

During the hearing, the advocate appearing for the petitioner contended that directions are being sought for a policy to protect rights of the dead, in the backdrop of incidents of bodies being found in the river Ganga. He said the petitioning organisation had taken up the issue before the High Court, but the needful had not been done so far.

To this, the bench told him, "You go to the NHRC. How many forums will you approach? You have already approached High Court. The High Court gave a direction. NHRC has interfered."

The plea also referred to the NHRC advisory issued on May 14, for upholding the dignity and protecting the rights of the dead, whereby 11 recommendations have been given to the Centre and all the states and UTs.

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