New Delhi, Mar 16 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court today directed a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to be present before it after a woman moved the Court, alleging that the remains of her Hindu husband, an Indian citizen, were wrongly buried in Saudi Arabia as per Muslim rites, due to incorrect translation of his religion on death certificate by the Indian Consulate officials in Jeddah.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said the woman has been running from pillar to post, since the passing away of her husband, and necessary steps ought to have been taken to bring back the body of the deceased to India, to conduct the last rites. The bench, while fixing the matter for further hearing to March 18, directed that a senior official (not below the rank of Deputy Secretary) shall be present before the court on the next date.
The plea, filed by Anju Sharma, claimed that her husband Sanjeev Kumar passed away due to cardiac arrest in Saudi Arabia, where he was working, on January 24 this year. She further claimed that after hearing the news, a request was made by the family members to repatriate the mortal remains.
However, on February 18, the family was informed that the body of Kumar has been buried in Saudi Arabia due to a translation error committed by the officials of the Indian Consulate in Jeddah, wherein the late man’s religion was translated as ‘Muslim’.
“The officials in Indian Consulate explained that it was due to a mistake committed by the official translator of Indian Consulate, Jeddah, who wrongly mentioned his religion as ‘Muslim’ in the death certificate. They also shared a letter of apology tendered by the official translating agency of the Indian Consulate in Jeddah with the petitioner herein,” said the petition, filed through Advocate Subhash Chandran K R and Yogamaya M G.
It also said that neither the woman, nor any of the family members, gave consent to bury Kumar’s body in Saudi Arabia.
Thereafter, the woman requested the officials of the Indian Consulate in Jeddah to ask the local authorities there to exhume the body of her husband, so that it can be transported to India for performing last rites as per the faith of the family.
“Unfortunately, even after seven weeks of the death of the husband of petitioner, the authorities have failed to do necessary formalities to repatriate the body of Sanjeev Kumar to India for performing last rites,” the plea said.
It also sought a direction to the Centre to take appropriate departmental actions against the concerned officials of the Indian Consulate at Jeddah for their wilful negligence and also direct the authorities to take appropriate actions for obtaining a corrected death certificate of the man and supply the document to his wife. ILNS/ANB/SNG/JR