The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said it would monitor the Arvind Kejriwal-led government’s order on disposal of the bodies of coronavirus patients, PTI reported. The High Court had last week taken note of reports on lack of facilities to cremate those who died of Covid-19 and of bodies piling up in the mortuaries.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Delhi government to file an updated status report two days before the next date of hearing on June 15.
On May 29, the Delhi government had informed the court that it was taking urgent steps, including extending the timings of crematoriums to avoid piling up of bodies at mortuaries. It had submitted that the situation was a “result of unavoidable circumstances”. Reports had highlighted that the backlog in disposing bodies was due to non-functioning compressed natural gas or CNG-run furnaces at Nigambodh and Punjabi Bagh crematoriums.
Delhi government’s Additional Standing Counsel Sanjoy Ghose said the court wanted to check whether the May 30 order has helped in disposal of bodies of those who died on May 31 and June 1. According to the order, the hospital has to send the body of the Covid-19 patient or of those suspected to have the infection to the mortuary within two hours of the death. The family of the deceased must contact the mortuary within 12 hours, after which the hospital has to arrange a cremation or burial within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, if the family does not contact the mortuary within 12 hours, an intimation will be sent through the area station head officer about the date, time, and place of the funeral. In the case of abandoned or unidentified bodies, the order directed the Delhi Police to complete all legal formalities within 72 hours of death and to dispose the body in next 24 hours.
Last week, four crematoriums in Delhi run by the civic bodies started using wood to perform funerals of patients who were either confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus. Using wood for the cremation of bodies was not permitted earlier for the fear of possible spread of the infection.
The national Capital has recorded 20,834 coronavirus cases and 523 deaths, according to the figures from the Union health ministry. Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched a mobile application called “Delhi corona” to help people track hospital beds and ventilators for coronavirus patients.
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