Order to exhume COVID-19 victim’s body stayed

A Division Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday stayed the operation of an order passed by a single judge of the court on March 31, directing the Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner to exhume the body of a neurosurgeon who died in April 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19, from a cemetery at Velangadu, near New Avadi Road here, and re-bury it at a Christian cemetery in Kilpauk.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and R.N. Manjula granted the interim stay after Additional Advocate General (AAG) P.H. Arvindh Pandian pointed out that the Corporation was busy tackling the second wave of COVID-19 and the situation was not conducive to exhuming the body of a COVID-19 victim. Appearing on behalf of the Corporation Commissioner, the AAG said an expert committee had opined against exhuming the body.

The law officer brought it to the notice of the court that the body could not be buried at the Kilpauk cemetery last April because of resistance from some residents who indulged in violence. Therefore, Corporation officials chose to bury the body at the Velangadu burial ground with the consent of the family, but later the wife of the deceased had turned volte face and approached the court to shift the body, he said.

The AAG also stated that any decision on exhuming the body could be taken only after normalcy was restored, and not when the second wave of COVID-19 was raging across the country. He urged the Bench to stay the single judge’s order until the appeal preferred by the Corporation could be heard in detail. Finding force in his submissions, the judges directed the High Court Registry to list the appeal for further hearing on July 15.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:23:07 PM |

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