A bereaved father has moved Delhi High Court on Saturday seeking direction to Delhi International Airport Limited to grant permission for repatriation of the body of his son, a migrant labourer who succumbed to Covid-19 on November 4 in Jordan, in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Jahiruddin, through his advocate Subhash Chandran KR told the court that his son Abdul Kalam, 26, an Indian Citizen passed away at his workplace in Jordan due to Covid-19.
After the intervention of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Jordan office and Embassy of India at Jordan, the employer has agreed to meet the expenses for sending the mortal remains of Kalam to India. Thereafter, Embassy of India completed the formalities for repatriation of Kalam’s remains and Emirates Airline has agreed to carry his body from Amman to Delhi Airport.
According to the petition, Lawyers Beyond Borders (LBB) India, an international organization advocating for the rights of migrants made arrangements for receiving, transporting and cremation of the Covid positive dead body with the help of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal (SBS Foundation, Delhi) as per the request of ILO and Embassy of India at Jordan.
The petitioner also pointed out the work of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, a Non-Governmental Organization and said that it has cremated more than 525 Covid positive dead bodies so far adhering to proper corona protocol to handle the bodies.
Unfortunately, even after completion of most of the formalities, Embassy of India informed the petitioner that Delhi International Airport Limited authorities have objected for sending the body of Kalam to Delhi Airport.
“It is pertinent to mention that staffers at Delhi Airport need not handle the dead body of Abdul Kalam at all as SBS Foundation have already given an undertaking to the concerned authorities for receiving, handling and transportation of the Covid positive body of son of the petitioner. All they need to do is to issue entry passes to 4-5 volunteers from SBS Foundation along with a hearse van/ambulance for receiving the body from airport/cargo/receiving point at Delhi Airport,” the petitioner said.
Mentioning that Ministry of Health had issued guidelines and framed Standard Operating Procedure for bringing back mortal remains of Covid-19 patients/suspects into India, the petitioner submitted that Indian airports are already granting permission for transportation of Covid positive bodies in domestic carriers.
Henceforth, the petitioner urged the Delhi High Court to issue direction to Delhi International Airport Limited to issue entry pass to hearse van/ambulance along with 4-5 volunteers of SBS Foundation for receiving the body of Abdul Kalam from airport/cargo/receiving point at Delhi Airport in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
The petitioner also told the court that through Lawyers Beyond Borders, he sent a memorandum to DIAL requesting for permission to repatriate mortal remains of Abdul Kalam but no reply has been received yet.
The matter is likely to be heard next week in the Delhi High Court.