NEW DELHI: Stating that the situation has undergone a ‘sea change’ with the passage of time, the Delhi High Court has closed proceedings initiated by it in 2020 relating to disposal of bodies of those who died of Covid-19. The high court added that the matter has lost its relevance now.
The observation came while the court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated on its own after coming across news reports about a lack of facilities to cremate those who had died due to Covid-19, with their bodies piled up in hospitals, mortuaries and cremation grounds.
“The situation has undertaken a ‘sea change’ with the passage of time and the present petition has, therefore, lost its relevancy in today’s context. We, accordingly, close these proceedings at this stage,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla.
The court noted that in the background of a large number of deaths, certain orders have been passed from time to time and status reports were filed, and it appeared that certain steps have also been taken. After taking cognisance of news reports, the high court on May 28, 2020, initiated the PIL at the height of the pandemic. The news reports said a large number of bodies of Covid victims were lying in hospitals, mortuaries and cremation grounds due to shortage of sufficient facilities for funeral.
An anguished high court said if correct, the situation was “highly dissatisfactory and violative of the rights of the dead.” The court maintained it was pained at the state of affairs as reported in newspapers. The news reports had said the backlog in disposal of bodies was due to non-functioning of CNG furnaces at Nigambodh and Punjabi Bagh crematoriums.