Graveyards are Expanding But No Place to Live in Delhi : HC

Graveyards are Expanding But No Place to Live in Delhi

NEW DELHI: The way graveyards are expanding in the national capital, there would be no place to live, the Delhi High Court observed on Tuesday. Asking the authorities to find out about the burial practices prevailing elsewhere in the world, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said as the population was rising, the death rate was also growing, but the land remained the same.

“The way you are expanding graves, there will be no place to live. There is no place for people to live. There is space only for graves. Please help the city to live. Where will you bury people who die now? Find out what is the practice in the world,” the bench said. It also said that several illegal activities were also going on in the graveyards.

The observations came as the bench heard pleas related to unauthorised construction inside the Amir Khusro Park near Sundar Nagar in South Delhi.

When the counsel for Waqf Board said the population of Muslims has grown by 1.2 per cent in last 10 years, the bench shot back “has the land grown in that proportion? It remains the same.”

“Already Christian cemeteries are facing a problem. You say population is increasing, … Do you have the land to bury people now. Hindus have started opting for electric cremation as there may not be enough trees to get wood for cremation. What can be the substitute for Muslims,” it observed.

During the hearing, the bench also asked the Waqf Board counsel to go and inspect the structures at the park and inform it which of these were pre-existing and which ones were new.

“We will protect only the old structures. New structures are not liable to be protected. We are here to see that the law is abided by,” it said and listed the matter for further hearing on July 10.

The bench also asked the authorities to remove debris from the demolished structures in the park. The court had earlier observed that the right to life of residents cannot be put to risk by allowing encroachments, which could lead to insanitary conditions.

It had earlier dismissed a plea seeking review of its May 16 order declining to stay demolition of some structures in the park.

The review plea was moved by some persons who were living inside the park and claimed to be the descendants of past caretakers of a shrine there. It had directed the DCP of south-east district as well as the Station House Office of the police station concerned to investigate the complaints of fraudulent and criminal activities and act against those found indulging in illegal acts.

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