Petition in SC against COVID-19 victims burial in three Mumbai cemeteries, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind seeks intervention

New Delhi: The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (A) has moved the Supreme Court seeking to intervene in a petition filed by a Mumbai man seeking stay on burial of people who have succumbed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at three cemeteries in densely populated Bandra West area of the metropolis.

Petitioner Pradeep Gandhy has challenged a Bombay High Court order dated April 27 after his plea was rejected against the permission given by BMC for the use of Bandra West cemeteries to bury dead bodies of COVID19 victims.

The matter listed before a bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and Indira Banerjee will likely go for hearing on May 4. He had argued that the burial of COVID-19 patients in the graveyard in Bandra West would help in the spread of the outbreak in adjoining areas.

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind led by Maulana Arshad Madani, a prominent Muslim body in India has sought to join the issue, contending that burial is an integral part of Islam. The apprehension related to the spreading of the virus due to burial of bodies of those infected with COVID-19 is unfounded, and insisted that there is no risk during the burial.

The plea said that such a right forms part of the right to practice one’s religion under Article 25 of the Constitution.

The Muslim body argued in its plea that the petitioner’s grievance is based on the apprehension. Citing guidelines issued by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for last rites COVID 19 victims, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said the disease is mainly transmitted through droplets.

And, there is no evidence to support that the burial of persons, who were infected with COVID-19, would contribute towards the spread of the viral infection in the neighbouring areas, which includes the residence of the petitioner.

Earlier, Bombay high court had directed the BMC to remove three locks put up by local residents on April 13 at the gates of the Muslim Konkani Cemetery, Khoja Sunnat Jamaat Cemetery and Khoja Asna Ashri Jamaat cemeteries.

Gandhy whose house is situated near Konkani Muslim Kabrastan contended that local residents were afraid of community spread of COVID19.