Not Permissible To Alter SoP For Last Rites Of Covid Victims In Parsi Way: Center To SC - Vibes Of India

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Not Permissible To Alter SoP For Last Rites Of Covid Victims In Parsi Way: Center To SC

| Updated: January 18, 2022 08:34

Citing the risk of transmission of the Covid-19, the center has told the Supreme Court that it will not be permissible to alter the standard operation procedures for disposal of dead bodies of Covid-19 victims in the Parsi way, which lets the corpses decay in the open.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said this in an affidavit filed in the apex court. The affidavit was filed in response to a plea by the Surat Parsi Panchayat Board seeking permission to perform dokhmenashini [last rites] in dokhmas of its members who died owing to Covid-19, as per the religious practices.

The Government pointed out that these rites involve exposing the body, which could still contain active traces of the coronavirus and the virus could spread. The bodies of Covid infected persons would be exposed to the environment and animals if not buried or cremated.

A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AS Bopanna had sought the government’s response into the matter. During an earlier hearing Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the petitioners, told the apex court that “Among Parsis, there are  Nasheshalars professional corpse-bearers, but the guidelines do not mention any other mode of disposal of dead bodies other than cremation and burial. Article 21 [Right to life] is not just for living but also for post deaths.”

The bench led by Justice D.Y.Chandrachud then advised Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Centre to convene a meeting with the petitioner to thrash out a suitable protocol that would allow the Parsis to practice their faith while performing last rites of Covid dead bodies. The bench has now scheduled the next hearing on the matter on January 21.       

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