Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

Electric crematorium to be setup at burning ghat to check environment pollution

2 min read

Kerala High Court: While
deciding as to whether Panchayat can pass a Resolution restricting the use of
burning ghat only to persons within its jurisdiction to check the environmental
pollution caused due to large scale burning of dead bodies, a division bench of
Ashok Bhushan CJ and A.M. Shaffique J quashed the resolution passed by the
Panchayat and directed it to setup electric crematorium at the burning ghat to
check the environmental pollution.

P.B. Krishnan,
learned Counsel for the petitioner contended that “Ivor Madom” is one among the
five holy sites for cremation in the Country and hence prohibiting cremation of
bodies from outside the Panchayat area is infringement of faith which is
protected under Article 25 of the Constitution. P. Jayashankar, learned Counsel
for the respondent contended that Panchayat has taken the decision to protect
environment from pollution caused by cremation of 70-80 dead bodies daily on
the banks of river Bharathapuzha.

The Court observed
that the resolution passed by the Panchayat was not in accordance with Rule 10
of the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Burial and Burning Grounds) Rules, 1998 as the
District Medical Officer did not recommended for closure or partial closure of
burning ghats (instead he recommended for the setting up of electric
crematoriums to abate the environmental pollution caused due to burning of dead
bodies), nor there was any decision of the District Collector to that effect.
The Court concluded that as the resolution was not passed in accordance with
law, there is no infirmity in the decision of the State Government under
Section 191(4) of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 to stay the operation of
the resolution. Accordingly, the Court quashed the resolution passed by the
Panchayat and held that the faith and belief of performing last rites of a dead
at the bank of river is a part of religion, and hence the decision of Panchayat
to prohibit the use of burning ghats to members of the Community situated
outside the Panchayat area is violative of Article 25 of the Constitution. The
Court further directed the Panchayat and State Government to setup electric
crematorium at the burning ghat to check the environmental pollution. [Krishna Das v. State of Kerala, decided on 02.07.2015]

 
Source: Legal news India

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