NEW DELHI: A peculiar case came up before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday wherein the mortal remains of a Hindu man, an Indian citizen, were wrongly buried in Saudi Arabia as per Muslim rites due to incorrect translation of his religion on death certificate by Indian Consulate officials in Jeddah.
The deceased’s wife, who has been running from pillar to post to get the mortal remains, has approached the HC seeking direction to the MEA to take steps to urgently exhume the remains and repatriate them to India in a time-bound manner.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said the woman has been approaching the authorities since January, since passing away of her husband, and adequate steps ought to have been taken to bring back the body of the deceased to India for last rites.
“Accordingly, the concerned officer from the MEA not below the rank of deputy secretary shall join the proceedings on March 18 to apprise this court about the update on steps taken and status on transportation of mortal remains of the deceased,” the judge said, adding that it was an ‘unfortunate’ case.
Indian man Sanjeev Kumar had passed away on January 24 in Saudi Arabia, where he was working, due to cardiac arrest and his mortal remains were kept at a hospital there. Petitioner Anju Sharma said in plea that on getting the news of her husband’s death, the family requested the authorities to repatriate the remains.
Shockingly, on February 18, the petitioner was informed that the body of her husband has been buried in Saudi Arabia while the family members of the deceased were waiting for the remains in India. “The officials in Indian Consulate explained that it was due to a mistake committed by the official translator of Indian Consulate, Jeddah, who wrongly mentioned his religion as ‘Muslim’ in the death certificate.
They also shared a letter of apology tendered by the official translating agency of Indian Consulate in Jeddah with the petitioner herein,’ said the petition, filed through advocate Subhash Chandran K R and Yogamaya M G. It also said that neither the woman nor any of the family members gave consent to bury Kumar’s body in Saudi Arabia. Thereafter, the woman requested officials in Jeddah to ask the local authorities there to exhume the mortal remains.