The Central government on Saturday informed the Delhi High Court that it will enquire about the state and location of the mortal remains of an Indian national who recently died in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the corpse was returned to the Middle Eastern nation due to immigration issues.
“We will find out from the embassy concerned about the location and condition of the mortal remains of Kamlesh Bhatt, who died of heart attack in Abu Dhabi on April 17″ the Centre told a single judge bench of the high court presided by Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva.
The submissions were made while the court was hearing a plea filed by deceased”s brother Vimlesh Bhatt, resident of Tehri Garhwal in Uttarakhand seeking direction to repatriate the mortal remains of his brother, which were sent to India by Etihad airport services cargo on April 23, respectfully to Delhi from UAE.
He sought direction to the authorities to bring back the mortal remains of his 24-year-old brother who was working in Abu Dhabi and on April 17, his family in India received the information regarding his death due to sudden cardiac arrest.
“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-year-old younger brother,” the plea said.
During the course of the hearing, Advocates Rituparn Uniyal and Abhishek Kumar representing the petitioner 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 here.
The petitioner further told the court that it was shocked after the cargo company informed them that they were not allowed to unload the corpse due to a few 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 (MEA).
Responding to the submissions Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya, appearing for the Central government told the court, “This being a unique case, the ministries of Home Affairs and Health and Family Welfare are in the process of framing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in order to avoid such problems in the future.
After conducting an urgent hearing through video conferencing, the court has now posted the matter for hearing on Monday.
According to Gulf News report, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor has expressed shock over the incident.
“We are appalled at what has happened. We do not know if the bodies were returned because of coronavirus-related restrictions, but we are obviously not sending the remains of people [who have passed away from COVID-19],” he said.
He said that the incident has happened because of new protocols at the airport and they are trying to sort it out.