Covid victim Dr Simon Hercules’s body likely to be exhumed for reburial at Chennai’s Kilpauk cemetery | Chennai News – Times of India

CHENNAI: Paving the exhumation and reburial of Dr Simon Hercules, a doctor who died of Covid-19 in April 2020, the Greater Chennai Corporation withdrew its appeal against a court order favouring reburial.
Due to protests by residents near Kilpauk cemetery, Simon had to be taken to Vellangadu cemetery and buried there. His wife then moved the high court seeking permission to exhume his body and rebury it at Kilpauk.
On March 31 a single judge permitted exhumation and reburial. However, the GCC filed an appeal against the order, and got a stay by a division bench on April 16.
On Thursday, the corporation sought leave to withdraw the appeal and informed the bench of the civic body’s decision.
Recording the submissions, a division bench headed by Justice M M Sundresh dismissed the appeal as withdrawn.
The single judge had passed the order on the ground that both the Covid-19 guidelines issued by the central government and the WHO had made it clear that the infection would not be contracted from a dead body.
Since India or many other countries does not have a legislation on exhumation of dead bodies, the judge after some research decided to rely on a statute of Ireland — the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act — to fill in the ‘legislative vacuum’ on the issue.
“This court, after perusing and examining the safeguards adopted in Ireland for the purpose of exhumation, is of the considered view that till such time when a legislation on exhumation comes in place in India, the same safeguards shall be followed while exhuming Dr Simon’s body,” the single judge had said.


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