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Cremation of COVID-19 victims in Muslim and Catholic communities SC rejects FR petitions challenging gazette notification

02 Dec 2020 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

By Yoshitha Perera   

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday rejected the examining of 12 Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed challenging the gazette notification regarding the cremation of COVID-19 victims belonging to Muslim and Catholic communities. 

The three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Murdu Fernando and Preethi Padman Surasena commenced hearings on November 30. 

All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader MP Rishad Bathiudeen, former MPs Seyed Ameer Ali, Abdullah Mohamed Mahroof, and Hussein Ahamed Bhaila, former SLMC MP Ali Zahir Moulana and Oshala Herath were among the petitioners.   

Appearing for three petitioners Senior Counsel Viran Corea with Counsel Thilini Vidanagamage informed the Court that according to the Attorney General’s facts, there is no proof that corpses can spread COVID-19 through burial.  
During the hearing, Counsel Pulasthini Hewamanna appearing for another petitioner, also notified that a statement issued by the Director General of Health admitted that burial was allowed with certain restrictions.   
The petitioners named Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Director General of Health Services, Secretary of the Health Ministry and the Attorney General as respondents to the petitions.