190816 india supreme court
Supreme Court of India Image Credit: PTI

Abu Dhabi: A petition was been filed at the Indian Supreme Court on Saturday urging the Central Government to facilitate the repatriation of bodies from abroad.

Filed by the NGO Pravasi Legal Cell, the petition calls for appropriate steps to be taken to bring back the mortal remains of Indians who have died abroad from non-COVID-19 ailments.

The plea refers to a recent requirement by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs for Indian Embassies and High Commissions around the world to demand No Objection Certificates from the Government before they allow the repatriation of Indians who have died from non-COVID-19 causes.

The Pravasi Legal Cell has likened the requirement of No Objection Certificates for the repatriation of bodies to ‘a denial of repatriation’, and said it makes the entire process tedious.

“As a result of this, a number of bodies of citizens who died of non-COVID-19 ailments are lying abandoned at airports especially in countries like Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, UAE and Saudi Arabia,” the petition reads.

The plea adds that airlines might become hesitant to transport mortal remains in light of the cumbersome process, even though “the World Health Organisation has time and again categorically clarified that a belief that corpses pose a major healthcare risk is inaccurate”.