Burial of Parsi Covid victims: SC seeks SG’s assistance


The Supreme Court on Monday asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to engage with authorities concerned to address the grievances of the Parsi community, which is unable to perform the traditional burial of its people who succumbed to COVID-19.

Senior advocate Fali S. Nariman, representing the Surat Parsi Panchayat Board, submitted that the Parsi community is the only community in the country, which has professional pallbearers. Nariman argued that the guidelines do not allow burial as per the community’s tradition. The Gujarat government counsel submitted that the state government is following the guidelines issued by the Centre in the matter.

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna asked Mehta, who was on the screen for another matter, to engage with the office of the Director General of Health Services and explore the possibility to tweak the existing guidelines for the burial of Covid victims.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the Surat Parsi Panchayat Board challenging the July 23 order of the Gujarat High Court, dismissing its plea.

Mehta said he will examine the matter and would talk to the authoritie concerned . After hearing arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on January 17. Nariman had argued that general guidelines have been issued for the cremation and burial of Covid victims, but the Parsi community does not figure there.

The apex court, last month, had sought response from the Centre and the Gujarat government on a plea seeking a traditional burial for the members of the Parsi community who died of Covid-19.

Nariman had contended that there is a community of corpse bearers among the Parsis, as when someone dies, the family members do not touch the body.

The Parsi community body had moved the high court seeking permission to perform the last rites of the community members, who died of Covid-19, in accordance with the Zoroastrian traditions, instead of cremating them.



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