Centre Seeks More Time From Guj HC To File Reply


May 30, 2021

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Next Hearing To Take Place On June 9; Parsi Trust’s Petition Says Burial Or Cremation Of Parsis Succumbing To Covid-19 Is Against Their Religion

The Central government on Thursday sought time from the Gujarat High Court to file its reply to a petition seeking right to perform customary burial of Parsis succumbing to Covid. At present, as per the central government Covid norms, Parsis are either buried or cremated against their traditional burial Dokhmenashini that involves placing the dead body in the Tower of Silence while exposed to sun.

The counsel for the central government sought time to file the reply by saying that they are yet to receive the copy of the plea. The state government’s reply would depend on the stand taken by the Centre which has been given time till June 8 to file its reply. HC will hear the case on June 9.What the petition says The petition was filed by Surat Parsi Panchayat Board citing lack of scientific evidence that a dead body can transmit Covid-19. The court had issued notices to the central government, the state government, Surat Municipal Corporation and the Surat Collector.

The plea said authorities were not allowing the community members to follow their religious right which is fully protected under the Constitution. Instead, they were being forced to opt for cremation or burial. The central government guideline on March 15 last year is silent about the mode of disposal of Parsis who died due to Covid-19.

It further said, “Fire is considered an agent of purity whereas the dead body is considered impure in Zoroastrianism. Therefore, disposal of dead bodies through cremation is against the faith and religious ethos of the Parsi Community. Moreover, the burial is not possible for the reason that there is no burial ground allocated to the community. The other communities, such as Muslims and Christians, do not allow others to use their burial grounds.”

It also said, “The practice of burial is not in accordance with the Parsi religious tenets. Ground burial is as sinful as cremation, since it pollutes the ground and surroundings. Hence, the only option available is a cremation. Disposal of their near and dear ones through cremation or burial, due to the misinterpretation of the present government guidelines, has subjected Parsis to immense emotional