Meghalaya High Court: A Division Bench of H.S. Thangkhiew and W. Diengdoh, JJ. addressed a PIL with regard to allotment of burial/cremation ground.
Petitioner filed the present Public Interest Litigation seeking direction to the State with regard to providing/alloting land for cremation/burial ground by assessing the need for various places of the District.
Counsel for the petitioner submitted that Entry 10 of the State List in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India empowers the State to make law on burial and burial grounds and Section 252 of the Meghalaya Municipal Act, 1973 also empowers the Municipal Board to provide fitting places for burial or burning grounds as stipulated by Article 243 (W) read with Entry 14 of the 12th Schedule to the Constitution of India, however, till date there in no single burial ground of the Shillong Municipal Board allotted by the State Government.
Adding to the above submissions, it was averred that, on an emergency basis, the Government may be directed to provide and arrange a place outside the residential area to set up a crematorium or burial ground especially for dealing with cases arising out of the COVID-19 fallout.
With regard to the allotment of burial grounds, AG submitted that State Government is not the appropriate authority for the same as the government does not own land in Meghalaya except the land acquired or purchased from private persons and public land is owned by the Community, allotment of which is governed by the laws made by the concerned Autonomous District Council authorized in Schedule VI of the Constitution of India.
Counsel for Shillong Municipal Board, K. Barua submitted that the Shillong Municipal Board does not have any land for use as burial ground and there are also no-bio medical plant to dispose of the burial waste.
Bench with regard to the above view stated that it requires a detailed hearing for which necessary material are to be placed before this Court.
Thus the matter is to be listed after 3 weeks. [Justice S.R. Sen (R) v. State of Meghalaya, 2020 SCC OnLine Megh 57, decided on 17-04-2020]