Allowing the petition of the deceased’s wife, Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Chennai Corporation to exhume the body of Dr. Simon Hercules and rebury at the Kilpauk Cemetery after 11 months. He died last year in April after falling victim to Coronavirus while treating other Covid patients.
Justice Abdul Quddhose quashed the April 24, 2020 order of the GCC Commissioner and allowed the petition of Hercules’s wife Anandi. The High Court asked the authorities to exhume his body from Velangadu burial ground and re-bury at the Kilpauk Cemetery.
“All the COVID-19 protocols imposed by the Central and State governments from time to time will have to be necessarily followed while exhuming the body and re-burying the same at the Cemetery and while performing religious ceremonies by the family members,” the court said.
The court ordered that sufficient police protection should be provided at both locations for the smooth operations of the whole process. High Court also stated that the Health Minister nominated by the Greater Chennai Corporation should also be present to supervise the exhumation.
“This is to ensure that all procedures are complied with and everyone present shows respect to the victim at all times and public health is protected,” the court said.
Justice Quddhose stated that the death of Simon is a shocking one as the incident had given a go-by to all human values.
The corpse of Dr. Hercules was shunted from one burial ground to another due to the objections raised by heartless human beings for allowing the burial of the body of a COVID-19 victim. He was buried in the ground which belongs to the people of different faiths.
The court further stated, “The exhumation should start as early as possible in the morning to ensure maximum privacy. Screens should be placed around the existing grave/burial plot to protect the exhumation from public view and to guarantee privacy. Workers must treat the neighbouring burial plots with care. Disinfectants and disposable protective clothing (including respiratory facemasks) must be made available to the workers and disposed of safely after the exhumation. All remains and pieces of casket, webbing etc., are placed in the new casket (shell). Videography of the exhumation and re-burial process shall be done.”