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Ongole: Right to dignified funeral Constitutional guarantee, says District Judge

Prakasam District Judge and Chairperson of the DLSA P V Jyothirmai
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Prakasam District Judge and Chairperson of the DLSA P V Jyothirmai

Highlights

The outbreak of the COVID-19 has created certain situations wherein the person died of the Coronavirus was denied a respectable funeral.

Ongole: The outbreak of the COVID-19 has created certain situations wherein the person died of the Coronavirus was denied a respectable funeral. The reports about people denying the cremation of the COVID victims in their villages and the authorities trying to perform the last rites of the dead in inhuman ways moved the Prakasam district judge, P Venkata Jyothirmai.

She announced that the right for a dignified funeral is guaranteed to everyone by the Constitution under Article 21.

Sharing her opinion with 'The Hans India', Jyothirmai said that the rage of COVID-19 across the world increasing the number of deaths multiple times, but the happening with the dead bodies is raising a plenary the question that ultimately abridging the fundamental right of the dead persons. She said that the obstruction of bodies paraded for cremation or burial was utter disregard to the dignity of the dead in the particular and human race in general. She observed that as per the COVID-19 protocol the dead bodies are ordered to be sterilized and sealed, but the people are scared that may get infected with the Coronavirus if the cremation of that dead body takes place in their village and are obstructing them.

She said that the COVID-19 deaths in various parts of the state, as well as the Prakasam district, exposed the inhumanity and ignorance of the people in preventing the cremation of COVID-19 dead bodies.

The judge said that every human being is entitled to a decent farewell to his or her corpse. But the news from different parts of the states as to the way in which the COVID-19 dead bodies are dealt with by the people shows the gross violation of fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

She said that a shocking incident occurred in Tamil Nadu after the death of a neurosurgeon due to the COVID-19 and his body was obstructed by the local people, and they pelted stones on the police and officials while doing so. As a news item published on that, the High Court of Madras initiated suo-moto proceedings in W.P. No.7492/2020 and upheld the scope and ambit of Article 21 that includes in so far as the right of decent burial of a dead person. The high court also held that the acts of the people in this regard are punishable under Sections 297, 188, 341, 147 and 148 of Indian Penal Code.

She also mentioned the earlier judgments of the apex court which held that "Right to dignity is not only available to a living man but also to his body after his death."

So, the chairman of the District Legal Services Authority and Prakasam District Judge, Jyothirmai advised the people not to fall prey to false notions. She appealed them to allow the funeral of such bodies in a humble and human way, befitting human dignity. When the worried families are already grief-stricken, such behaviour of the public will further increase their agony, she observed.

She requested the paralegal volunteers to take an active part in creating awareness among the public.

The secretary of the DLSA, P Srinivasa Rao reiterated to maintain social distancing, using masks, cleaning hands, and premises frequently to overcome from COVID-19 pandemic. He advised the victims of COVID-19 pandemic to approach the DLSA, Ongole, for legal assistance and necessary action if any.

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