Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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No right to bring back foreigner’s mortal remain to India: Supreme Court | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that no citizen has a right to bring back mortal remains of a foreigner to India while rejecting Prayagraj-based Sufi Dargah’s plea for bringing back mortal remains of it’s spiritual head Hazrat Shah, who was born in India but became a Pakistani citizen in 1992 and passed away in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Arundhati Katju pleaded with a bench of CJI D Y Chandrachud, and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra that the leader of the sufi sect, Hazrat Shah, has relatives in Prayagraj and that they are keen to fulfil Sajjada-nasheen’s (leader’s) last wishes to be buried in the Dargah precincts.She said the tomb at Dhaka is unkempt and ill-maintained.
But, the bench remained firm that no Indian citizen had a right to bring back mortal remains of a foreigner to the country. It said, “There are difficulties which lie in the path of entertaining a petition under Article 32. Hazrat Shah was admittedly a Pakistani citizen. There is no constitutional right which the petitioners can enforce to claim transfer of his mortal remains from Dhaka, where he is buried, to India.”
“Apart from the practical difficulties such as exhumations, as a matter of first principle it would not be appropriate or lawful for the court to direct the body of a person, who is admittedly a citizen of a foreign state, to be brought to India for last rites,” the bench said before dismissing the petition.
The sufi leader was born in Prayagraj in UP but migrated to Pakistan and got Pakistani citizenship in 1992 . Notwithstanding the conferment of citizenship of Pakistan, his followers in India elected him as Sajjada-nasheen (spiritual leader) on February 24, 2008 of the Dargah.
The petitioner claimed that the sufi leader had executed a Will on March 8, 2021 expressing his desire to be buried at the shrine beside the graves of his forefathers. However, he died in Dhaka during a visit to Bangladesh on January 21, 2022.
After the court dismissed the petition, Katju said Hazrat Shah’s younger sister, Khalida Yusuf Sabir has made multiple representations to the concerned authorities praying for the transportation of mortal remains, but received no response. Could the court direct the authorities to at least respond to her representations, the counsel asked. The bench declined to issue such a direction.

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