A 56-year-old man has filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court, challenging the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Delhi government’s Department of Health and Family Welfare claiming that his body should not be handed over to his family after his death and instead be transferred to another person for performance of the last rites.
In the writ petition listed on Monday, the petitioner argued the plea is filed exercising his right to “disposal of his dead body post his death which is his unalienable right and his desire to get his last rites performed by a particular person. He is suffering from a cardiac problem which is irreversible and it is not known when his end will come and he does not want his wife, daughter and son law to lay a claim to his dead body.”
The petitioner has challenged Clause 7 of the Standard Operating Procedure for Mortuary issued by Department of Health and Family Welfare, which directs that the dead body should be given to the relatives.
The petitioner argued that he has acrimonious relations with his wife, daughter and son-in-law, adding that he was coaxed to move out of his own house in April 2012.
The petitioner also argued that his body be handed over to the man, whom he claims is just like his son and in whose house he has been living since some time.
The petitioner argued that respondent number 4 — the man — looked after him during his bed-ridden days and even cleaned his defecation.
Justice Yashwant Varma in his order asked Delhi government’s counsel to obtain instructions on the contentions in the petition.
“From the disclosures made in the writ petition, the court notes that there appears to be serious acrimony amongst the petitioner, his wife and son-in-law. The court is apprised that the petitioner is being looked after by the fourth respondent, who is also staying with him. It is in the aforesaid backdrop that the petitioner has prayed for the SOP being interpreted in a manner which would permit the fourth respondent to perform the last rituals in the unlikely event of his demise. Let…learned counsel appearing for the respondent, obtain instructions,” Justice Verma observed.
The matter will be next heard on October 18.