Mumbai: The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday slammed the authorities for not having a single electric crematorium in any of the districts in the Marathwada region. The HC said the authorities shouldn't chop off trees for firewood to cremate the dead bodies of Covid-19 victims.
The bench of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Bhalachandra Debadwar also asked the authorities and the state government to learn from Israel that paid double amounts to import vaccines and got 90 per cent of its population vaccinated to avoid huge number of infected persons.
During the hearing, the bench sought to know from the state on the conditions of funeral ghats in Aurangabad and the rest of Marathwada region. The judges even sought to know about the status of electric crematoriums.
At this, public prosecutor D R Kale told the bench that there wasn't a single district which had an electric crematorium. "That is costly as we need 24x7 electricity supply for these crematoriums," the prosecutor told the bench.
Interrupting his submissions, Justice Ghuge said, "This would mean that you (authorities) are returning to the primitive practice of chopping down trees."
At this Kale clarified that only 50 per cent wood and remaining bricks were used for cremations.
Justice Ghuge again interrupted and said, "But for wood we need to chop trees right. Or is that you have some technology that wood can be created from air. Please surprise us with any such technology you have developed."
The judge further pointed out to a photograph in a local paper, showing a huge crowd gathered outside a shop for purchasing wood, even at exorbitant rates, to cremate their loved ones
"You just cannot damage the nature at any cost. You must understand that money can be earned back but nature's destruction cannot be undone. Cutting trees would amount to damage to mother Earth and the nature. We need to protect the resources available today," an irked Justice Ghuge remarked.
The bench further said the government authorities should learn from Israel, "they spent double amounts for importing vaccines and got 90 per cent of their population inoculated. After spending so much they didn't have to lock down their country and ruin their economy."
"You cannot say electric crematoriums are costly. They would be helpful in the long run," the bench added.
The bench accordingly suggested the authorities to appeal to the industrialists in the Marathwada region to use CSR funds to install electric and LPG crematoriums in huge numbers.
The judges further noted an incident in Beed district wherein 12 dead bodies were stacked in sacks in a single vehicle.
"We are of the view that though death takes the life of a person and releases his or her soul, the body of the person needs to be respected. The last rites on a body have to be performed by maintaining dignity of the soul of the person, who has left his body," the bench said in its orders.