Disposal of bodies: SC says need change in mindset

Why electric crematorium system has not succeeded? It has not worked in this country.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 11, 2013 12:47 am

Calling for a “change in mindset” of people over disposing of bodies after the last rites,the Supreme Court on Wednesday regretted the situation wherein around 50,000 bodies,including some half-burnt,were dumped indiscriminately into rivers or thrown at public places.

“Why electric crematorium system has not succeeded? It has not worked in this country. You go to Varanasi and you will find people burning dead bodies at Harishchandra ghat and then throwing away even the half-burnt bodies into the river. It will not succeed if you don’t change the mindset of people,” observed a Bench led by Justice B S Chauhan. The court said that public at large were mainly responsible.

Agreeing to examine if uniform guidelines for disposal of bodies across the country could be framed,the Bench issued notices to the Centre and Railways and sought their response to the PIL by social activist Vikas Chandra. The court asked the secretaries of the concerned ministries to file their replies within four weeks.

The PIL claimed that over 50,000 unclaimed bodies were strewn at public places across the country. Citing the statistics received under the RTI Act,it said the chief reason for the unpalatable sights was lack of legislative measures and uniform guidelines.

The PIL requested the court to issue directives to Centre,states and union territories to ensure disposal of the unclaimed bodies “in a clear and hygienic manner as also perform the funeral rites according to its known faith”.

Advocate Subhro Sanyal,appearing for the petitioner,told the Bench that the problem could be redressed to a large extent if an uniform policy was put in place.

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