The Delhi High Court today sought a status report from the local authorities on the status of electric and CNG crematoriums here and the steps taken by them to increase their use in place of wood.

A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla which was hearing petitions concerning the burial and cremation of dead bodies in the wake of the overwhelming number of deaths due to COVID-19 last year, asked the authorities to disclose the details and particulars of the electric and CNG crematoriums in their status report.

The Bench observed that the objective behind the plea, which sought an increase in the number of electric crematoriums, was "laudable" and asked the authorities to file a report in four weeks concerning electric and CNG crematoriums in the city.

"We want a report for all Delhi. Forget about COVID (aspect)," the court said. "We direct the local bodies to file the latest status report indicating the details and particulars of crematorium grounds in their jurisdiction...and whether they are functioning," the Court ordered.

"The status report shall also disclose the steps taken by the local bodies for increasing the use of electric and CNG for crematoriums as a substitute of wood," it added.

One of the petitioners, Pratyush Prasanna had moved the court last year seeking temporarily increase the number of cremation and burial sites in the city in view of the "overwhelming" number of people dying due to COVID-19 daily.

The petitioner sought directions to make alternate arrangements for converting any park, field, open space, stadium, or any other similar place as a cremation site/burial ground.

Apart from seeking directions to ensure the proper supply of wood and other necessary materials for carrying out the last rites of the dead, the petitioner also urged that the facility of electric crematoriums should be available and their numbers are increased.

Another petitioner Sunil Kumar Aledia also prayed from more electric or CNG crematoriums and prayed that uniform charges should be fixed for the same.

The matter would be heard next in July.

With PTI inputs