– Apex Court Seeks Solicitor General’s Assistance –
On 10th January, 2022, the Supreme Court sought the assistance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, to amicably resolve the grievances of the Parsi community, which is unable to perform Dokhmenashini or the traditional funeral rites of community members who have passed away due to Covid-19.
A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna asked SG Mehta to consider speaking with the Director General of Health Services to bring about any changes in the existing guidelines for the burial of Covid victims.
Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the SPP (Surat Parsi Panchayat) Board, informed them as regards our Parsi community being the only community in India to use professional pallbearers. He said the existing guidelines for funerals of Covid victims disallowed Dokhmenashini and this was hurting the sentiments of the community.
The counsel appearing for the Gujarat government said they were simply following the guidelines issued by the Centre. Nariman said the Centre, in its affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court, has said it would bow down to the orders of the court. The bench then asked SG Mehta to intervene on the issue. Mehta said he would consider it as it was not an adversarial issue and speak with the concerned. The bench has posted this matter for further hearing on 17th January, 2022.
Earlier, on 6th December, 2021, the Apex Court had sought responses from the Centre and the Gujarat government on a plea seeking a traditional burial for the members of the Parsi community who died of COVID-19. The appeal filed by the Surat Parsi Panchayat Board has challenged a July 23 order of the Gujarat High Court, dismissing its plea.