The Delhi High Court has been informed that the mortal remains of an Indian citizen who died recently in the UAE, and were returned the first time, were brought back and his last rites have been performed by his family in Uttarakhand.
The matter reached the high court when his brother submitted that the 24-year-old Kamlesh Bhatt died of heart attack in Abu Dhabi on April 17 and his body was sent to India by Etihad airport services cargo on April 23, but it was returned to UAE from Delhi due to immigration issues.
During the Monday's hearing, conducted through video conferencing, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva was informed by the petitioner's counsel that with the intervention of the Centre and the Uttarakhand government as also due to the efforts of social worker Roshan Raturi at UAE, the mortal remains of his brother reached Delhi in the morning.
Advocates Rituparn Uniyal and Abhishek Kumar, representing the man's brother Vimlesh Bhatt, said the mortal remains were transported to Uttarakhand where his last rites were performed.
They added that they have instructions to withdraw this petition.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya, appearing for the Centre, submitted that the Standard Operating Procedure has been issued by the government in the form of guidelines for importation of human remains related to COVID-19.
The Centre had on April 25 told the court that it will find out from the concerned embassy about the location and condition of the mortal remains of Mr Bhatt.
The petitioner, a resident of Tehri Garhwal in Uttarakhand, had sought direction to the authorities to bring back the mortal remains of his brother who was working in Abu Dhabi. On April 17, his family in India received the information regarding his death due to sudden cardiac arrest.
The plea said that on April 23, a social worker at UAE shipped the human remains from Etihad Airport to Delhi's International airport and even the petitioner was informed when the cargo had arrived.
However, they were shocked to be informed by the cargo company that they were not allowed to unload the body of the victim due to some immigration issue despite having complete documentation and legal formalities which were required for repatriation of human remains to India as laid down by the Ministry of External Affairs, the advocates had said.
"In a most inhumane, insensitive and unexpected conduct of the respondents the human remains of the deceased were sent back to UAE on the same flight without citing any order/notification/circular or furnishing any medical report by a medical officer or giving any explanation or reason to the petitioner who kept praying for handing over of the mortal remains of his 24 years old younger brother," the plea said.
The petition said that when the news about the death came, the family approached the authorities to arrange for transportation of the body from the hospital in UAE to India and on April 22, the Indian Embassy at Abu Dhabi issued a no-objection certificate for carrying the human remains of the victim to Delhi.
The next day, the social worker at UAE shipped the human remains to Delhi, the plea said, adding that the petitioner had to take the bodyof his brother from Delhi to Rishikesh for his last rights and the family had obtained permission to travel from native village Semal Gaon to Rishikesh from the local administration.
It alleged that the authorities did not even make efforts to unload the human remains of the deceased who was a respected citizen of the country and keep it in a mortuary room at the airport. "The inhumane treatment is worse than the treatment given to a terrorist," the plea alleged.