"Article 21 involves the right to a proper burial," Madras HC records suo motu PIL after a mob obstructed the burial of a Doctor who died of COVID-19

Team SoOLEGAL 22 Apr 2020 5:21pm

Following a mob of local people obstructing the burial of a doctor who died from COVID-19, a suo motu PIL was filed by the Madras High Court on Monday i.e. 20th April 2020 on the matter, arguing that Article 21 of the Constitution also involves the right to a proper burial.

The bench judging the matter observed, “In the considered opinion of the court the scope and ambit of Article 21 includes, right to have a decent burial. It prima facie appears that as a consequence of above said alleged acts, a person who practiced a noble profession as a doctor and breathed his last, has been deprived of his right, to have a burial, in a cemetery earmarked for that purpose and that apart, on account of law and order and public order problem created, the officials who have performed their duties, appeared have sustained grievous injuries”.

The Court has also taken into consideration that the information pertaining to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare guidelines on 'Social Stigma Associated with COVID-19'and 'Dead Body Management' is accessible in the public domain and it is presumed that people will be aware of and will follow these guidelines.

Reliance has been placed upon to Section 297 of the Indian Penal Code which prescribes punishment for trespass with respect to burial places.

It was further observed that the apex court had found the purview of Article 21inKharak Singh's case(Kharak Singh v State of U.P & Ors 1964 SCR (1) 332)) thatThe inhibition against its deprivation extends to all those limbs and faculties by which life is enjoyed. The provision equally prohibits the mutilation of the body or amputation of an arm or leg or the putting out of an eye or the destruction of any other organ of the body through which the soul communicates with the outer world. Moreover it is every kind of deprivation that is hit by Article 21, whether such deprivation be permanent or temporary”.

The Apex court has clearly stated that the citizens have no right to take law and order into their hands. 

Tagged: Article 21   Madras HC   COVID-19   Indian Penal Code   IPC   Apex court  
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