Publicise SOP on Transportation of Mortal Remains of Indians dying Overseas: Delhi HC tells MEA

The Delhi High Court has directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to prominently post on its website and widely circulate the standard operating procedure (SOP) followed for bringing back the mortal remains of Indians who die abroad.

A bench headed by Justice Najmi Waziri said such guidelines, including information about a welfare fund created for this purpose, should be widely circulated in public domain, and asked airlines operating from the country to consider hosting the SOP on their websites for Indians flying abroad.

“The court is of the view that .. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and the ‘Guidelines on Indian Community Welfare Fund established in Indian Missions/Posts Abroad’ should be accessible and widely circulated in the public domain. Therefore, the MEA is directed to prominently post and make accessible the said SOP and Guidelines on its website, if not already available, within one week from the date of receipt of copy of this order,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain, in an order dated July 13.

The court’s order came on a plea dealing with issues arising from the death of an Indian man in Maldives.

The central government counsel said the SOP for transportation of mortal remains of both Indian tourists and workers are already in place.

The court noted in case of Indian tourists, ordinarily, all Indian Missions coordinate with the family of the deceased. In exceptional circumstances on account of lack of resources, the Missions and MEA make appropriate arrangements, often using the Indian Community Welfare Fund established by the Mission concerned.

In case of a worker, coordination is established between the nominated family members of the deceased, the insurance company, and the employer, and the Indian Mission closely monitors the entire exercise, it noted.

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