The Allahabad High Court has ordered the state government to take immediate action in response to the slow pace at which the state’s infrastructure for cremation sites is being developed.
A bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Justice Prashant Kumar expressed concerns about the insufficient provision of essential services to keep up with the demographic expansion, pointing out that the cremation site infrastructure has not kept up with the consistent growth in population, reported the Live Law.
“The population is increasing day by day but the infrastructure at the cremation sites are being developed at snail’s pace. It is very unfortunate that the common people struggle their whole life for getting proper amenities and even after their last breath they are
deprived of from getting proper cremation facilities. At this stage, we are striving to achieve one trillion economy but still unable to give proper facilities at the cremation centres,” the bench remarked.
The Court further emphasised that a severe lack of infrastructure at cremation centres made proper cremation of the deceased a challenge during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Court, on November 20, passed a detailed order directing the Secretary of the Nagar Vikas Government of Uttar Pradesh to file a response in the matter indicating whether the State Government had any concrete policy in this regard. The Court took note of the “shabby and dilapidated conditions” of crematorium/ cremation sites across the State, which lacked basic amenities and infrastructure.
Pradesh, Nagar Vikas, said that the responsibility for ensuring the appropriate development and upkeep of the cremation sites situated in urban areas falls on the autonomous bodies such as Municipalities and Municipal Corporations.
Another objection was raised in the reply, stating that the Panchayati Raj Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh is the appropriate authority for developing and maintaining cremation centres and crematoriums in rural areas. As a result, it was argued that the Urban Development Department lacked the authority to initiate action regarding the upkeep of these sites in Gram Panchayats throughout the State.
Taking note of the sluggish pace in the development of cremation site infrastructure across the state, the Allahabad High Court recently directed the state government to take concrete steps in this regard.
Pointing out that the cremation site infrastructure has not kept up with the consistent population growth, a bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Justice Prashant Kumar underscored concerns about the inadequate provision of essential services vis-a-vis the demographic expansion.
The Court also underscored that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, proper cremation of the deceased became a challenge due to a severe shortage of infrastructure at cremation centres.
The observations were made by the bench while dealing with a writ plea filed by one Rajendra Bajpai, who is serving as the President/Manager of Shamshanghat in Bithoor, wherein apprehensions regarding insufficient facilities at the cremation site were expressed.
Taking note of the “shabby and dilapidated conditions” of crematorium/ cremation sites across the State, which lacked basic amenities and infrastructure, the Court, on November 20, passed a
detailed order by which the Secretary, Nagar Vikas Government of U.P. was directed to file a response in the matter indicating therein whether the State Government had any concrete policy in this regard.
Filing a response in the matter, the Secretary, Nagar Vikas, Government of UP, stated that the Urban Local Body i.e. Municipalities/ Municipal Corporations are autonomous bodies and such
bodies are tasked to ensure the proper maintenance and development of the cremation sites located in the urban areas.
In the reply, another objection was taken that for maintenance and development work of Cremation Centers/ Crematorium in rural areas, the competent authority is the Panchayati Raj Department, Government of U.P and hence, it was argued that the Urban Development Department is not empowered to take any action in respect of maintenance or to regulate such sites across the State in Gram Panchayats.
In view of this, the Court directed that the Addl. Chief Secretary, Panchayati Raj, Government of U.P. as well as the Addl. Chief Secretary, Urban Development, Government of U.P. be impleaded
as party respondent in the matter to enable them to file a response in the matter.
The matter will be heard next on January 18, 2024.
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