PIL in SC for release of Afzal's body, framing of guidelines

Afzal Guru

A petition was today filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government for handing over Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's body to his family and for laying down guidelines on the issue of relatives' claims over bodies of executed prisoners.

The PIL also sought judicial interpretation of the right to claim bodies of convicts after their execution.

The PIL, filed by NGO Garib Nawaz Jail Victim Welfare Society, said, "The respondent (Centre) also does not bother about the religious right of the relatives of the convicted person after being hanged to death. To perform the religious rituals as per their professed religion is the fundamental right of the family members of the convicted person.

"The family members' right cannot be shunted out on the ground of security reason as the government has taken in case of Afzal Guru. The family members of convicts suffer serious mental set back due to deprivation of the right of the family members from performing the last rites as per Islamic rituals."

The petition, filed through advocates Sanobar Ali Qureshi and Ambika Ray, also said the government's decision to bury Afzal's body inside Tihar Jail needed to be dealt by the apex court.

"The decision of the government to retain and bury the body of Afzal Guru convict of Parliament attack case inside Tihar Jail requires the judicial interpretation pertaining to the right to claim body by the relatives after execution of the death penalty of the convict since the sentence in case of death penalty demonstrates hang till death and is silent about the right to retain body by the government," it said.

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