Srinagar: High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Thursday reserved its decision on a plea by the father of Muhammad Amir Magray, one of the four persons killed on November 15 last year in Hyderpora encounter, seeking the return of the body of his son for “decent burial”.
A bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar reserved the verdict after hearing Amir’s father Muhammad Latief Magrey through his lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat, Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) Government of India through its ASGI T M Shamsi and J&K government through its Additional Advocate General, Asifa Padroo.
On January 12 this year, the Court had issued the notice to MHA and the J&K government for response to the plea following the submissions by Advocate Rajawat that delay in handing over the body would traumatize the family members mentally. Delay, she said, was not “feasible’ medically also.
Subsequently, J&K government filed objections to the plea and the MHA decided to adopt the objections filed by the Union Territory before the court.
Petitioner Magray had met Lieutenant Governor on December 7, 2021 to press for the demand of return of the body and making the magisterial probe public.
Referring to the return of the bodies of two others, a building landlord and a doctor with whom Amir was working as an office peon on November 18, the petitioner pleaded the court to direct the MHA, J&K government and Director General of Police to hand over his body to the family.
The petitioner pleads to invoke Article 21 of the Constitution which, he submits, “extends the Right to have a decent burial as per religious ceremonies and rules”.
The petitioner pleads that Amir had not been able to complete his studies due to weak family background and financial problems. “Therefore, he had gone to his sister in Kashmir who helped him get a job in Dr Mudasir’s clinic and he had been working there for the last few months”, he says.
The petitioner and his wife want court intervention for their son’s Fundamental Right to have decent burial as per religious rules. They submit that they will never recover from the pain if not allowed.
Expressing his wish to bury his son close to his house in Ramban district, the petitioner wants to ensure burial of his dead son within a prescribed period after exhumation and in an atmosphere required to maintain peace.
It is submitted that Amir’s body needs to be exhumed at the earliest to avoid decomposition and the family would get emotionally traumatised if they see the decomposed body.
Counsel representing the MHA and J&K government submitted that the excavation of the body now would not serve any purpose for it would be decomposed by now. They further said that the deceased was already given a “decent burial” after fulfilling the religious rituals and obligations by the Waqf members and a religious preacher.
The counsel contended that the documents evidencing the fact that the burial was performed with religious obligations were “placed on record in the sealed covers before the court”.
They further submitted that “Credible inputs vis a vis apprehensions of law and order expressed by the government were also shared with the court”. Excavation of the body, they said, can become an “unwanted precedent in the prevailing circumstances”.