Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has directed the Ministry of External Affairs to prominently post on its website and widely circulate the standard operating procedures for bringing back mortal remains of Indians who die abroad.
A Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri and Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain said such guidelines, including information about a welfare fund created for this purpose, should be widely circulated in the 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,” the Bench said in an order dated July 13.
The court’s order came on a plea dealing with the death of an Indian man in Maldives.
The Union government’s counsel said the SOP for transportation of mortal remains of both Indian tourists and workers are already in place. It was stated that in the case of Indian tourists, “ordinarily all Indian Missions/Posts coordinate with the family of the deceased for transportation of the mortal remains”.
In exceptional circumstances of lack of resources, the mission concerned and the MEA make appropriate arrangements, often using the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) established by the mission, he said.
The Centre further said that in case of a worker, the coordination is done between the nominated family members of the deceased, the insurance company and the employer and the “Indian Mission closely monitors the entire exercise”, pursuant to which the Bench disposed of the plea.