Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Bombay HC seeks information about state of crematoriums
MUMBAI The bodies of COVID-19 patients cannot be kept lying for hours waiting to be cremated, the Bombay High Court said on Tuesday, and asked the Maharashtra government and the BMC to inform it about the condition of crematoriums across the state and in Mumbai.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni said in several crematoriums there is a waiting period before bodies are cremated and relatives of the victims are forced to queue outside the crematoriums.
“The Maharashtra government and all other civic authorities will have to come up with some mechanism to address this issue. Bodies cannot be left lying like that for hours together. They are corpses,” the court said.
If there is a waiting period at a crematorium, the body should not be released from the hospital, the HC said.
Justice Kulkarni cited an incident in Maharashtra’s Beed district, where 22 bodies of COVID-19 victims were stuffed in an ambulance while being transported to the crematorium.
The court was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations, seeking directions pertaining to shortage of Remdesivir injections, oxygen supply, availability of beds and other issues.
Advocate Simil Purohit, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the court that tokens are being distributed at crematoriums.
“There has to be some dignity in death. Making bodies lie around like that would also increase the spread of the virus,” Purohit argued.
The court took note of the arguments and said media reports also point out the ground reality at crematoriums.
“The condition of some crematoriums is such that furnaces are not working. The authorities should come up with some mechanism or set up alternate sites for cremating the bodies,” the court said.
The HC directed the Maharashtra government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file an affidavit on April 29, apprising the court about the condition of crematoriums across the state and in Mumbai.
The court also directed the Union government to file an affidavit on the supply and allocation of Remdesivir injections to Maharashtra.