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SC rejects plea seeking formulation of national mortal remains management, disposal protocol

Source: , Posted On:   10 February 2021

SC rejects plea seeking formulation of national mortal remains management, disposal protocol

New Delhi [India], February 10 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a writ petition seeking a direction to the UOI (Union of India) and concerned state authorities for 'National and State Mortal Remains Management Disposal Protocol'.
A bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, while refusing to entertain the writ petition filed by G Manohar, said, a similar issue had already been taken up by the top court and "we had already issued the necessary directions and order in such kind of similar matter".
The writ petition filed by Manohar before the Supreme Court had claimed a mix up of her mother's body at a Delhi mortuary in sector-6 in Dwarka's hospital, namely Manipal Hospital.
The writ petition filed by Manohar claimed his mother's dead body was allegedly mixed up and cremated by someone else due to lack of proper Dead Body Management Protocol.
Thereby, he had approached the Supreme Court under Article 32 for framing a 'National and State Mortal Remains Management Disposal Protocol'.
The apex court today opined that as a suo motu petition is pending before the court, therefore it declined to entertain the writ petition but it granted liberty to the petitioner, Manohar, to intervene in the already pending matter.
"The intervention is allowed in this matter," the apex court said.
Manohar, 39, had to bear the trauma of losing his mother and then his fate had turned into double jeopardy, when he could not perform his mother's last rites due to the hospital's alleged lapse during COVID-19 pandemic, forcing his dead mother's last rites to be performed by another man, who also lost his mother.
Manohar told ANI that he was the victim of the "callous action" and "negligence" of the Manipal Hospital, Sector 6, Dwarka, which "without any respect to him and his family, denied a decent burial to his mother, as they allegedly handed over the dead body of her mother in the most undignified manner without any verification, to a total stranger and his family to be cremated by them."
Manohar has filed this writ petition, in the Supreme Court through his lawyer, Shilpa Liza George seeking proper laying down of a National/State Mortal Remains Management/Disposal Protocol to avoid similar trauma to others.
Manohar stated that his mother (who died of non-Covid causes) and her body was allegedly given to one Puneet Kohli, whose mother died due to Covid and it was sheer due to the alleged mix up of the medical negligence of the hospital, these two dead bodies were allegedly exchanged.
The petitioner, Manohar, lost his mother on September 14, last year, and realised the next day that she has already been bid farewell to by a stranger family, which was difficult for his family, as they continue to deal with the psychological trauma of having lost their loved one.
Manohar said he wanted to highlight the lack of management protocol in the country, as a result of which irreversible harm and agony of this sort was being caused.
In his writ petition, Manohar further requested the Apex Court "to direct the Centre and states to set up a National/State Mortal Remains Management/ Disposal Protocol that will be strictly adhered to, so that such trauma and distress can be avoided."
"The notion of respect is so rooted that we even agree to deal gently with the bodies of our enemies," Manohar stated in his petition.
Manohar had to now live with the hard and bizarre truth that his mother's body was mistaken for some other Covid-19 victim and was given away for cremation by someone else denying him the sacred rights of doing the last rites to his mother, the petition stated.
Manohar stated in his petition, a copy of which was exclusively accessed by ANI, that this is due to the absence of a proper Mortal Remains Management Disposal Protocol in the country, because of which such a disastrous and irreversible act has taken place.
The complete lack of a proper system of checks and balances is leading to hospitals taking the excuse of being overburdened with dead bodies, he said, in his petition.
He stated that he is aggrieved by the fact that his mother's body was so carelessly stored without proper labelling or identification, with other highly infected Covid-19 bodies in the mortuary of the respondent hospital.
Then due to a mix-up of bodies, it was handed over to a stranger and his family for cremation, with complete disregard and negligence, as a result of which the petitioner and his family did not get to see or bury the mortal remains of his mother according to their religious rites and rituals, he said.
The Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, however, told ANI that it has always been at the forefront of patient care and strictly follows all protocols and guidelines for treatment and care.
"Handing over of the deceased is also done as per the laid guidelines. However, the new set of guidelines laid down under Covid 19 pandemic restrict the movement in the mortuary. Covid-19 has also brought in heavy pressure on healthcare workers, systems, and processes," an official from the hospital said.
The act done is irreversible and there is no closure for the petitioner and his family as they not only lost their mother but also lost the right to bury her, Manohar said.
"To make matters worse, the hospital has not shown any remorse for its act, knowing full well that such indignity in death was afforded to petitioner's mother due to the negligent actions of the hospital and due to the lack of a proper Mortal Remains Storage and Management Protocol in Delhi," Manohar said. (ANI)

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