Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind has filed an intervention application in petition filed before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to restrain burial of dead bodies infected with COVID 19 in three Muslim Cemetries in Mumbai.
The special leave petition has been filed by a resident of Mumbai, Pradeep Gandhy expressing fear of the spread of COVID 19 through soil to the nearby populace, if the infected bodies are buried in the Cemetries which are located immediately next to the petitioner’s residence.
The applicant organization has submitted that “the burial of dead bodies is essential to the religion of Islam as well as in other religions such as Christianity. Such a right forms part of the right to practice one’s religion under Article 25 of the Constitution of India”.
It has further been submitted that according to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India on March 15,2020, on the dead body management in times of COVID 19, the main driver of transmission of COVID-19 is through droplets and that there is unlikely to be an increased risk of COVID infection from a dead body to health workers or family members who follow standard precautions while handling such bodies.
Moreover, according to the World Health Organization guidelines of March 24,2020 dealing with the issue of burial of dead bodies of COVID 19 patients, it has been clarified that except in cases of haemorrhagic fevers (such as Ebola, Marburg) and cholera, dead bodies are generally not infectious. Further, till date there is no evidence of persons having become infected from exposure to the bodies of persons who died from COVID-19.
The applicant organization has further pointed out that even in USA, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and the Middle Eastern nations bodies of COVID 19 affected patients are being buried and no such increased risk of spread of the virus has been highlighted by these nations due to the act of burying the dead bodies.
-India Legal Bureau