The Supreme Court on Thursday took suo motu cognizance of former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar’s letter highlighting news reports about the undignified treatment and disposal of the bodies of COVID-19 patients.
A three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan has been assigned by the Chief Justice to examine the issue.
Mr. Kumar wrote that indignity shown to the dead amounts to a “grave infraction of the citizen’s right to die with dignity”.
Mr. Kumar, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, has said the fundamental right to die with dignity embraces the right to decent burial or cremation.
He has referred to a recent report of an elderly patient in Madhya Pradesh who was ‘chained’ to a hospital bed.
“The tragic and condemnable sight of a COVID-19 patient being chained to a bed in a hospital in Madhya Pradesh and another sight in Puducherry of a body being thrown in a pit for burial have shocked the conscience of the Republic committed to human dignity under the Constitution, which recognises dignity as a core constitutional value at the pinnacle in the hierarchy of non-negotiable constitutional rights,” Mr. Kumar wrote in his letter addressed to the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court judges.
He drew attention to reports of bodies of patients “piling up” in hospitals and mortuaries in the Capital.
“Notified protocols for cremation in the capital city, reported piling up of bodies in hospitals and mortuaries, non-availability of adequate cremation/burial grounds and the reported non-functioning of electric crematoriums constitute distressing and an unacceptable violation of right to die with dignity,” Mr. Kumar wrote.
The senior advocate reminded the apex court that it was its duty to enforce the law declared by it in past judgments.
“It is requested that the court takes suo motu notice of the matter in view of the shocking infraction of the fundamental right to dignity,” the letter had urged the court.
You have reached your limit for free articles this month.
Subscription Benefits Include
Find mobile-friendly version of articles from the day’s newspaper in one easy-to-read list.
Enjoy reading as many articles as you wish without any limitations.
A select list of articles that match your interests and tastes.
Move smoothly between articles as our pages load instantly.
A one-stop-shop for seeing the latest updates, and managing your preferences.
We brief you on the latest and most important developments, three times a day.
Not convinced? Know why you should pay for news.
*Our Digital Subscription plans do not currently include the e-paper ,crossword, iPhone, iPad mobile applications and print. Our plans enhance your reading experience.