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PIL seeks permission to allow family members to perform last rites of COVID deceased

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Aaquib Chhipa, Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the state in a PIL seeking permission to allow the kin of those who succumbed to COVID to perform their last rites. The PIL said the relatives should be allowed to perform the last rites with all safety measures including PPE kits.

Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court – Justice Vikramnath while hearing the matter observed that it is a difficult time for customs, rituals and safety should take precedence over emotions. The matter is likely to be heard after three weeks.

What PIL said about COVID cremation

The advocate appearing for the petitioner submitted before the court that he is not seeking to take the body of a deceased, who died due to COVID, home. But family should be allowed to perform the last rites of the deceased by following all safety protocols including the use of PPE kits.

If ground staff can perform last rites wearing safety kits, the relatives can do so too, the counsel argued.

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The court asked the advocate of the petitioner if he had any idea of the ground reality. “Do you think people will be able to follow the strict guidelines? Wearing PPE Kits, sealing it, and starting the process? The government will have to create another department to deal with this aspect,” the court said.

It said the state is already dealing with COVID detection, maintaining of protocols, violation of the said protocols including social distancing and masks. “Now you want another department which will handle families of those who have unfortunately lost their lives. The guideline is already there and they are strictly following it. Family members are allowed to watch cremation from a safe distance,” the court said.

Advocate General appearing for the state said they follow the ICMR guidelines. No one is allowed to touch the body and five members of the family are allowed to view the last rites from a safe distance, the state said.

The government pleader further said the state has filed an affidavit before the apex court where they have submitted that they strictly follow the ICMR guidelines.

 

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