SC disallows handing over of Ganga crusader for homage

SC disallows handing over of Ganga crusader for homage

In this photo dated October 10, 2018, is seen environmentalist G D Agarwal, who was on fast unto death since June 22 for a clean River Ganga, being forcibly taken to the hospital after his health detriorated in Haridwar. Agarwal passed away on October 11, 2018 at AIIMS Rishikesh following a heart attack. PTI file photo

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Uttarakhand High Court order to hand over the body of environmentalist and 'Save Ganga' crusader Prof G D Agarwal alias Swami Gyan Swaroop to Matri Sadan for 76 hours, in order to allow his followers to pay their last respects to the departed leader.

The top court passed its order within hours of the high court's direction after considering the matter in the chamber.

Agarwal had died on October 11 after undertaking a 111-day fast for preservation and conservation of the river Ganga. He had pledged his body to AIIMS Rishikesh for organ donation.

On a plea by a counsel from AIIMS Rishikesh, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur said if the high court's order passed on October 26 was implemented, it would render the organs of the deceased unfit for transplantation in people in need.

Swami Gyan Swaroop's body has been embalmed and kept at AIIMS Rishikesh.

The institute rushed to the top court after the order was passed by the high court on Friday.

Urgent plea

Advocate Shirish Kumar Mishra gave an undertaking to the court on behalf of AIIMS to file a detailed special leave petition within days. He made an application for urgent consideration of the issue.

The high court's order was passed on a plea by Dr Vijay Verma, a follower of Swami Gyan Swaroop. The AIIMS had declined to allow the Swami's followers to pay their last respects and permitted only the family members to see the mortal remains.