The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered the presence of an official from India’s foreign affairs ministry in a case where the mortal remains of a Hindu man of Indian origin was wrongly buried in Saudi Arabia as per Muslim rites, Bar and Bench reported.

Anju Sharma, the wife of Sanjeev Kumar, approached the High Court, seeking directions from the ministry to take steps to exhume the remains of his body, and repatriate them to India in a time-bound manner.

While hearing the case on Tuesday, Justice Prathiba M Singh asked an officer of the ministry, not below the rank of a deputy secretary, to appear before the court on the next date of hearing on March 18. The court said the official should apprise it “about the update on steps taken and status on transportation of mortal remains of the deceased”, PTI reported.

The counsel representing the Centre sought 10 days’ time to seek proper instructions on the matter, Bar and Bench reported. However the judge denied the request, and said: “Have you seen the nature of the matter? Please ask senior MEA officer to join the proceedings with complete status...Not after 10 days.”

Sanjeev Kumar died on January 24 in Saudi Arabia due to a cardiac arrest, according to PTI. His wife said in her plea that they then requested the authorities in Saudi Arabia to repatriate his mortal remains. However, on February 18, she was informed that Kumar’s body had been buried in Saudi Arabia.

The plea stated that the burial took place due to a mistake committed by the official translator of the Indian Consulate in Saudi Arabia’s capital Jeddah, who wrongly mentioned Kumar’s religion as “Muslim” in the death certificate, PTI reported. The plea also mentioned that Sharma or any other family member did not give consent for the burial.

The High Court judge then requested officials of Indian Consulate in Jeddah to ask the local authorities there to exhume the mortal remain of her husband so that it can be transported to India for the last rites as per the faith of the family.

“Unfortunately, even after seven weeks of the death of the husband of petitioner, the authorities have failed to do necessary formalities to repatriate the mortal remains of Sanjeev Kumar to India for performing last rites,” the plea stated.

The petition also sought directions from the Centre to take actions against officials at the Indian Consulate at Jeddah, who were responsible for the negligence.