Grieving father seeks intervention from Delhi HC to bring back the body of his son infected with Covid-19 from Jordan
A grieving father went to the Delhi High Court on Saturday seeking direction to Delhi Limited International Airport to grant permission for the repatriation of the body of his son, a migrant worker who succumbed to Covid-19 on November 4 in Jordan. , in accordance with the Standard of Operations. Procedure (POE) issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Jahiruddin, through his defender Subhash Chandran KR, told the court that his son Abdul Kalam, 26, an Indian national, passed away at his workplace in Jordan due to Covid-19.
Following the intervention of the International Labor Organization (ILO) office in Jordan and the Indian Embassy in Jordan, the employer agreed to cover the costs of shipping Kalam’s remains to India. Thereafter, the Indian Embassy completed the formalities for the repatriation of Kalam’s remains and Emirates Airline agreed to take his body from Amman to Delhi Airport.
According to the petition, Lawyers Beyond Borders (LBB) India, an international organization that defends the rights of migrants, arranged to receive, transport and cremation the Covid-positive corpse with the help of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal (SBS Foundation, Delhi ) as requested by the ILO and the Embassy of India in Jordan.
The petitioner also pointed to the work of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, a non-governmental organization and said it has cremated more than 525 Covid-positive corpses so far adhering to the proper corona protocol for handling the bodies.
Unfortunately, even after completing most of the formalities, the Indian Embassy informed the petitioner that the authorities of Delhi International Airport Limited have refused to send Kalam’s body to Delhi airport.
“It is pertinent to mention that the Delhi airport staff do not need to handle Abdul Kalam’s corpse at all, as the SBS Foundation has already engaged with the concerned authorities to receive, handle and transport the Covid-positive body of the petitioner’s son. All they need to do is issue entry passes to 4-5 SBS Foundation volunteers along with a van / ambulance to receive the body from the airport / cargo / reception point at Delhi airport, ”said the petitioner.
Noting that the Ministry of Health had issued guidelines and framed the Standard Operating Procedure to bring back the mortal remains of Covid-19 patients / suspects to India, the petitioner stated that Indian airports are already granting permission for the transportation of Covid positive bodies in domestic carriers.
Hereafter, the petitioner urged the Delhi High Court to issue instructions to the Delhi International Airport Limited to issue an entry pass to the hearse / ambulance along with 4-5 volunteers from the SBS Foundation to receive the body of Abdul Kalam from airport / cargo / reception point at Delhi Airport in accordance with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The petitioner also told the court that through Lawyers Beyond Borders, he sent a memorandum to DIAL requesting permission to repatriate Abdul Kalam’s mortal remains, but no response has yet been received.
The matter is likely to be heard next week in the Delhi High Court.