AG’s advice sought on unclaimed bodies

By Indika Sri Aravinda

The Government has sought the Attorney General’s advise on cremating unclaimed bodies of Covid victims.

The Health Ministry said it has reached out to the Attorney General as the Government is not vested with legal powers to carry out such cremation.

Deputy Director General of Public Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath told Colombo Gazette that an issue has arisen as a result of the relatives of Covid victims refusing to provide written consent to cremate the bodies.

Even though the Government is able to cremate the bodies using state funds, the issue of relatives not reporting to the Health Ministry to inform their decision, has prompted the Government to seek the Attorney General’s intervention in this regard.

The Government is unable to cremate the bodies using state funds due to relatives refusing to provide their written consent.

Dr. Hemantha Herath said the Ministry is prepared to issue a Gazette notification on cremating unclaimed Covid bodies on the directive of the Attorney General.

Nearly seven bodies of Muslim Covid victims remain unclaimed at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officers mortuary due to relatives refusing to consent for cremation.

However, measures were taken to cremate two unclaimed bodies at the Borella cemetery in Colombo on Tuesday (01).

The cremation of the remaining unclaimed bodies was thereafter suspended on a directive issued to the Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council.

The Government Information Department had announced on Tuesday (01) that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had instructed health authorities to cremate unclaimed bodies of Covid victims on state expense.

The Department further said that the President had informed that the expense for the cremation will be borne by the Disaster Management Centre. (Colombo Gazette)