MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant relief on a plea challenging the BMC's permission to use 'Bandra Kabrastan' (cemetery) to bury bodies of COVID-19 victims.
Justice B P Colabwalla was hearing a petition filed by residents living near the Konkani Muslim Kabrastan in suburban Bandra seeking the court to restrict burial of bodies of COVID-19 patients.
The petition, filed by resident Pradeep Gandhy and others, claimed that locals were afraid of community spread of the virus if the burial is not done properly.
Advocate Pratap Nimbalkar, appearing for the Kabrastan trustees, on Monday opposed the plea and argued that due diligence was being carried out before disposing of the bodies, and that the petitioners had not placed any scientific reasoning to show the virus spreads through dead bodies.
Nimbalkar pointed out a notification, dated March 15 issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Affairs on guidelines on COVID-19 dead body management, which stated that transmission of COVID-19 is through droplets.
"The notification says there is unlikely to be an increased risk of COVID-19 infection from a dead body to anyone if standard precautions are followed while disposal," Nimbalkar argued.
The court accepted the arguments and noted that the petitioners have not submitted any material to show or prove that burial of a body infected with COVID-19 would put at risk residents living in the vicinity.
The court also directed the BMC to to remove, with the help of local police, the three locks put up on the gates of the cemetery ground by local residents.
The locks were put up on April 13 after they held a protest against burial of a dead body at the cemetery ground.