Hearing a suo motu petition on the “highly dissatisfactory” storage and cremation facilities for those who have died due to Coronavirus, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government and sought an explanation for the slow rate of disposal of COVID-19 related dead bodies at crematoriums in the city, reports Bar and Bench.
The court noted that as on May 31, 2020, out of total 45 dead bodies only 7 were cremated.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan took suo motu cognizance after it noted that bodies of those who had died of coronavirus as far as 5 days ago in Delhi were yet to be cremated. And also that inside the largest COVID-19 mortuary of Lok Nayak Hospital (LNJP), all 80 storage racks were full, with 28 more bodies lying on the floor, piled on top of each other.
After recording the submissions made by the Delhi government that besides Nigam Bodh Ghat crematorium, Pachkuiyan and Punjabi Bagh crematoriums had also been authorized to dispose of the dead bodies of persons who had either passed away on account of COVID-19 or there was a suspicion of the same and that the timings of the crematoriums had also been increased, the court ordered: “We would like to know from the respondents the reasons for slow disposal of these dead bodies. We, therefore, direct the respondents to file further status report/affidavit”.
The court asked the Delhi Government to state whether it was following its own guidelines issued on May 30, regarding the disposal of dead bodies. “It is one thing to issue the directions/guidelines and it is absolutely a different thing to ensure the execution of those directions. We are not burdening the respondents by adding any further directions to the directions already issued by the respondent No.1 on 30th May 2020. However, what we expect from the respondents is, proper execution of those guidelines/directions so that the aforesaid dead bodies may be disposed of at the earliest and the relatives of those persons who have expired should be informed and other formalities are completed immediately.”, the Delhi High Court said.
The matter would be taken up again on June 15.
Crematoriums in the city sending back bodies of Coronavirus victims to hospitals
It was reported on May 28, that the mortuary in the Lok Nayak Hospital, the largest dedicated coronavirus hospital in the national capital, is now full with dead bodies of coronavirus victims and suspected cases as bodies are returning back to the facility from the crematorium due to their inability to depose more dead bodies.
According to the reports, the Nigambodh Ghat CNG crematorium in Delhi sent eight bodies back to the Lok Nayak hospital on May 26 (Tuesday) as it was in no position to depose more bodies. The crematorium has only two of its six furnaces working.
With the rising deaths related to coronavirus in Delhi, the hospital staff are worried now, who said, “We are yet to cremate the bodies of those who died five days ago”.
“The backlog of such cases is increasing every day. Wearing PPE suits, we stand in the sun in this heat outside the crematorium only to be told in the evening that they cannot accept the bodies. Today there are 28 bodies on the floor lying next to each other or piled on top of each other. Last week, there were 34,” said another official according to HT.
Coronavirus deaths being covered up in Delhi? Municipality records show three times deaths compared to official numbers
Recently, senior BJP leaders in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had reportedly accused the Arvind Kejriwal-led-Delhi Government of a ‘massive discrepancy’ in the number of official Coronavirus deaths and the actual data of such deaths, recorded from crematoriums and burial grounds.
On the contrary, the Delhi Government had passed on the blame for the discrepancy in data on the hospitals. Arvind Kejriwal has accused the health officials of not providing timely information and has therefore issued new guidelines.