Last rites: Karnataka HC seeks clarity on death certificate

The High Court of Karnataka has directed the State government to clarify on whether death certificate from hospital/medical officer is required for burial or cremation of COVID-19 victims on private land/farms owned by their relatives.

A Special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar issued the direction while hearing a batch of PIL petitions on issues related to the pandemic.

This requirement of death certificate from hospital/medical officer has cropped up as the government, on April 21, permitted the burial/cremation of COVID-19 victims to avoid crowding at crematoriums and burial grounds and to ensure the swift disposal of dead bodies in a decentralised manner. This permission was granted following requests from a large number of family members of deceased persons, said the April 21 notification.

However, it was contended on behalf of the petitioner, T.K. Sarvesh Kumar, that the “revised guidelines on dead body management in the context of COVID-19”, issued on August 6, 2020, had made the issuance of death certificate in the prescribed format mandatory only in case of inter-district or inter-State transportation of bodies. As the issuance of death certificates by hospitals/medical officers has not been made mandatory in case of burial/cremation on private lands/farms, there is a possibility of disposal of dead bodies of COVID-19 patients in private burial/cremation without a medical certificate on cause of death. Also, there could be serious violations of the elaborate safety protocol to be adhered to during burial/cremation as there is no State regulation or control of last rights performed on private lands/farms, the petitioner pointed out.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 3:45:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/last-rites-karnataka-hc-seeks-clarity-on-death-certificate/article34582684.ece

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