Sri Lanka’s All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader and former MP Rishad Bathiudeen together with several former MPs filed a Fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court yesterday, citing the country’s top health officials as respondents.
Mr. Bathiudeen is challenging the rules followed to dispose the bodies of suspected Muslim victims of COVID19, which he alleges were done contrary to the method practised by followers of Islamic Faith.
In his petition SCFR107/2020 filed 14 May, ACMC Leader Bathiudeen has cited the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Director General of Health Services of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, and the Attorney General as respondents.
Former MPs Seyed Ameer Ali (former ACMC MP), Abdullah Mohamed Mahroof (former ACMC MP), and Hussein Ahamed Bhaila (former Deputy Minister of External Affairs 2007-2010) are the other Petitioners joining ACMC Leader Bathiudeen.
“The Petitioners are making the present application both in their own personal interest as well as in the public interest,” said ACMC Leader Bathiudeen in his filing and added: “In light of the fact that there is no danger in carrying out burial which is practised by many countries of the world, where COVID-19 death rates are very high, there is no reason for foregoing such religious practice of burial.”
Mr. Bathiudeen said, “Since 28-03-2020 there have been occasions when the remains of a person who died in the context of the virus has been disposed of by the Government of Sri Lanka in exclusion of the right of the deceased or his or her relatives right to choose a mode of disposal of the cadaver in the context of the virus. Up to the date of this Petition, there have been nine (09) deaths reported from Covid-19. There has been some uncertainty as to whether the 9th person who died in fact died of Covid-19.