The remains of a Hindu man who was buried in Saudi Arabia according to Muslim rites has been brought back to India and are in transit to his family, the Centre informed the Delhi High Court today.
Justice Prathiba M Singh was told by central government standing counsel Ripudaman Bhardwaj that the remains arrived in India on Wednesday morning and were in transit to the family in Una in Uttar Pradesh.
The court said it was a "great relief" that the family has received the remains so that they can cremate according to Hindu rites.
It expressed its gratitude to the Saudi authorities and also its appreciation for the efforts made by Vishnu Kumar Sharma the Director of Consular, Passport and Visa (CPV) Division in the Ministry of External Affairs for bringing back the remains.
Mr Sharma also told the court that the man's family had received on May 7 the payment sent by his employer.
The court also appreciated the efforts of the amicus curiae Farrukh Khan and advocate Subhash Chandran KR, who represented the man's widow, and expressed hope that such a thing "never happens again".
With these observations, the court disposed of the plea moved by Sanjeev Kumar's widow seeking his remains to perform the last rites in India.
Anju Sharma, in her plea, had said that on getting the news of her husband's death, the family had requested the authorities to repatriate the remains.
Sanjeev Kumar, 51, died on January 24 in Saudi Arabia, where he was working, due to cardiac arrest and his body was kept at a hospital there.
"Shockingly, on February 18, the petitioner was informed that the body of her husband had been buried in Saudi Arabia while the family members of the deceased were waiting for the remains in India."
"The officials in Indian Consulate explained that it was due to a mistake committed by the official translator of the Indian Consulate, Jeddah, who wrongly mentioned his religion as 'Muslim' in the death certificate."
"They also shared a letter of an apology tendered by the official translating agency of Indian Consulate in Jeddah with the petitioner herein," claimed the petition, filed through advocate Yogamaya M G.
The plea had also said that neither the woman, nor any of the family members gave consent to bury Sanjeev Kumar's body in Saudi Arabia.
Thereafter, the woman had requested the officials of Indian Consulate in Jeddah to ask the local authorities there to exhume the remains of her husband so that they can be transported to India for performing 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 remains of Sanjeev Kumar to India for performing last rites," the plea had said.
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