Supreme Court issues notice in plea against denial of last rites for Covid19 victims belonging to Zoroastrian faith

  • Thyagarajan Narendran
  • 01:04 PM, 06 Dec 2021

A Supreme Court of bench of Justices Chandrachud and Bopanna today issued notice in a plea by Surat Parsi Panchayat challenging an order of the Gujarat High Court, which dismissed their plea seeking traditional burial for Zoroastrian victims who succumbed to COVID-19.

Justice Chandrachud orally observed at the end of the hearing that there is a judgment of Justice Sri Krishna, which dealt with importance of obsequies rights which are of the essence of certain faiths.

Fali Sam Nariman, Senior Advocate, appearing for the petitioner submitted that the question has now become relevant in view of the new strain of virus and that among the Parsis there is a community of corpse bearers. He further submitted that this class of people should be made health workers by the government.

Nariman while taking the court through the order of the Gujarat High Court submitted that it is no more a live issue, as the curve projecting the rise in cases has flattened. Nariman further submitted that a month before filing this litigation, 13 Parsis died in Surat alone. Nariman said, “In our faith, if someone dies the family members don’t touch the body, only corpse bearer do so.” Justice Chandrachud at this point agreed that this issue requires consideration and a bit of modification.

The Court on hearing the petitioner noted that they will issue notice in this matter and consider the same. Nariman in jest mentioned that the Parsi families in Surat are ancient and that their case needs to be heard.

The matter will now be taken up in second week of January.

Case title: Surat Parsi Panchayat Vs Union of India