Delhi High Court: The petition was filed relating to the issue of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed for the Transportation of Mortal Remains overseas of both Indian tourists and Indian workers in place. A division bench of Najmi Waziri and Sudhir Kumar Jain, JJ., directed Ministry of External Affairs to make accessible Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines relating to Transportation of Mortal Remains overseas of both Indian tourists and Indian workers.
In the case of Indian tourists, ordinarily all Indian Missions/Posts coordinate with the family of the deceased for transportation of the mortal remains. In exceptional circumstances of lack of resources, the Mission concerned and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) make appropriate arrangements often using the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) established by the Mission. In case of a worker, coordination is done between the nominated family members of the deceased, the insurance company and the employer, as may be relevant and the Indian Mission closely monitors the entire exercise.
The Court noted that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and the “Guidelines on Indian Community Welfare Fund established in Indian Missions/Posts Abroad” should be accessible and widely circulated in the public domain.
The Court directed MEA to prominently post and make accessible the SOP and Guidelines on its website, if not already available, within one week from the date of receipt of copy of the order.
[Chelakara Ramaswamy v Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 4080, decided on 13-07-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. N. Hariharan, Sr. Advocate, Amicus Curiae) with Ms. Punya Rekha Angara, Advocates for the Appellant;
Mr. Anurag Ahluwalia, CGSC along with Mr. Abhigyan Siddhant, GP for the R-1;
Mr. T. Singhdev, Mr. Tanishq Srivastava, Mr. Abhijit Chakravarty, Mr. Bhanu Gulati, Ms. Anum Hussain and Mr. Abbaas Sukhramani, Advocates for the NMC/R-5;
Mr. Akshay Ringe and Ms. Megha Mukheijee, Advocates for the R-3, R-6 & R-8;
Mr. Anupam Sharrma, SPP for the CBI.