Friday, June 14, 2024

Supreme Court stays shifting of Vasant Kunj crematorium, orders its conversion into an electric one

The Supreme Court has set aside a 19-year-old order of the Delhi High Court, which had ordered shifting of a 100-year-old crematorium at Masoodpur village in Vasant Kunj area to Kishangarh, while directing the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to convert it into a modern electric crematorium within a year.

The Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice M.M. Sundresh noted on October 14 that the crematorium existed prior to the coming into force of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, while the Vasant Kunj residential colonies came into existence in 1990.

If every resident association sought shifting out of crematoriums, there would be none left within the city limits, added the Apex Court.

The top court of the country made the observations, while setting aside an order of the Delhi High Court, which had ruled in 2003 to shift the crematorium from Masoodpur to Kishangarh.

The verdict followed a petition filed by the Federation of Residents Welfare Association, Vasant Kunj, before the High Court.

The Apex Court, however, directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to modernise the crematorium by shifting it to a modern electric crematorium within 12 months, adding that it would be in the larger public interest of the villagers as well as neighbourhood residents.

Senior Advocate Karan Singh Bhati, representing the Vasant Kunj FRWA, contended that the crematorium was near to the residential complexes of Vasant Kunj and posed a health hazard for the residents of colonies.

It said the Delhi Development Authority, which had allotted land at Kishangarh for crematorium purposes, had supported shifting of the crematorium from Masoodpur.

However, the Bench accepted the arguments made by Corporation Counsel Vandana Sehgal, who said that the Standing Committee of the Corporation was the sole authority to take a decision in this regard.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Standing Committee took a conscious decision under Section 391 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 not to close the crematorium on the grounds that Masoodpur cremation ground has not become offensive to the health of persons residing in the neighbourhood.

The continuation of the crematorium, which has been running for a long time, was in larger public interest, thus, the High Court should not have ordered its shifting, observed the Apex Court.


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