Udayavni Special

Centre to find out condition of mortal remains of Indian who died in UAE, HC told

Team Udayavani, Apr 26, 2020, 9:49 AM IST


New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday told the Delhi High Court that it will find out from the embassy concerned about the location and condition of the mortal remains of an Indian citizen who recently died in UAE and his body was returned to Abu Dhabi from Delhi due to immigration issues.

The central government made the submission on a petition seeking direction to repatriate the mortal remains of Kamlesh Bhatt, who died of heart attack in Abu Dhabi on April 17, and his mortal remains were sent to India by Etihad airport services cargo on April 23, respectfully to Delhi from UAE.

The matter was listed before Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, which conducted the urgent hearing through video conferencing, and fixed the plea for further hearing on Monday after the Centre sought some time to find out the details.

The petition was filed by the deceased’s brother Vimlesh Bhatt, resident of Tehri Garhwal in Uttarakhand. He sought direction to the authorities to bring back the mortal remains of his 24-year-old brother who was working in Abu Dhabi and on April 17, his family in India received the information regarding his death due to sudden cardiac arrest.

Advocates Rituparn Uniyal and Abhishek Kumar, appearing for petitioner Bhatt, said that on April 23, a social worker at UAE shipped the human remains from Etihad Airport to Delhi’s International airport and even the petitioner was informed when the cargo had arrived here.

However, they were shocked to be informed by the cargo company that they were not allowed to unload the body of the victim due to some immigration issue despite having complete documentation and legal formalities which were required for repatriation of human remains to India as laid down by the Ministry of External Affairs, the advocates said.

“In a most inhumane, insensitive and unexpected conduct of the respondents the human remains of the deceased were sent back to UAE on the same flight without citing any order/notification/circular or furnishing any medical report by a medical officer or giving any explanation or reason to the petitioner who kept praying for handing over of the mortal remains of his 24-year-old younger brother,” the plea said.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya, representing the Centre, submitted that it being a unique case, the ministries of Home Affairs and Health and Family Welfare are in the process of framing Standard Operating Procedures so that in future there is no difficulty in similar matters.

She further said that a meeting was going on at the highest level to consider the petitioner’s case and prayed for some time to report about it.

The law officer said the Centre shall find out from the concerned Embassy as to the location and condition of the mortal remains of the deceased which were flown back from India.

The petition said when the news about the death came, the family approached the authorities to arrange for transportation of the body from the hospital in UAE to India and on April 22, the Indian Embassy at Abu Dhabi issued a no-objection certificate for carrying the human remains of the victim to Delhi.

The next day, the social worker at UAE shipped the human remains to Delhi, the plea said, adding that, the petitioner had to take the mortal remains of his brother from Delhi to Rishikesh for his last rights and the family had obtained permission to travel from native village Semala Gaon to Rishikesh from the local administration.

It alleged that the authorities did not even make efforts to unload the human remains of the deceased who was a respected citizen of the country and keep it in a mortuary room at the airport. “The inhumane treatment is worse than the treatment given to a terrorist,” the plea alleged.

It said from such conduct of the authorities, it appeared that the respondents have lost sight of the fact that every individual has a right to dignity even after death and a right to proper and dignified burial.

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