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FR petition filed: Cremation of Covid-19 deaths challenged

12 May 2020

A fundamental rights (FR) violation petition has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the gazette notification stipulating that a Covid-19-related death must be cremated within 24 hours. One of the petitioners, Oshala Herath, speaking to The Morning, said that there was no reason for the authorities to make the cremation of those deceased of coronavirus mandatory as no other country was doing so. “We are the only country out of 180 that has made cremation mandatory. All the other countries allow burial when required. As a Catholic, we are bound to bury our dead and not cremate. Therefore, it’s a violation of our fundamental rights.” Herath went on to say that there was no scientific basis to ban the burial of Covid-19-related death. “Even Sri Lanka’s Chief Epidemiologist has said that the virus cannot be transmitted through groundwater and that it doesn’t survive very long in a deceased body. There is no scientific reason to not allow burials,” Herath said. Another petition in addition to that of Herath was filed by Ranmal Anthony Samarasinghe on the same. The petitions cited Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Secretary to the Ministry Bhadrani Jayawardena, Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe, and the Attorney General as respondents. By Skandha Gunasekara

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