Updated: April 6, 2021 5:09:20 am
THE DELHI High Court on Monday directed the Indian consulate in Saudi Arabia to explore other options to expedite the return of the body of an Indian citizen, who died in January and was buried in the Gulf nation in February despite being a Hindu and without his family’s consent. The MEA earlier told the court that the ministry was pursuing the case with Saudi authorities but was yet to receive any formal response.
Observing that the current approach was not helping, Justice Prathiba M Singh asked the authorities to see if Sanjeev Kumar’s family, who are from Himachal Pradesh’s Una district, could be given assistance to approach any authorities, including courts in Saudi Arabia, for the return of his body. “This cannot go on like this,” observed the court, adding, “If any other legal remedy is available, make it available to the family”.
It had last month directed the Ministry of External Affairs to seek the cooperation of Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi for transporting back the body.
According to the petition filed by Kumar’s wife Anju Sharma, he had been working as a truck driver in Saudi Arabia for the past 23 years and died in January due to cardiac arrest. After his death, his body was kept in Beesh General Hospital in Jizan. Sharma, as per the petition, was asked to execute a power of attorney for completing the formalities of repatriation of the body and the same was done on January 28. However, she was informed on February 18 that he has been buried there due to a mistake in the translation of death certificate which identifed his religion as ‘Muslim’.
The court listed the matter for hearing on April 8.
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