SC Dismisses Man’s Plea for Exhuming Son’s Body Amid Warning on Law & Order

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea of a man to hand over the body of his son Amir Latief Magrey — one of the four people killed in Hyderpora in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)’s Budgam district in November last year — for burial.

A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala said once buried, the body should not be disturbed and Jammu and Kashmir administration has submitted that the deceased was buried with all honour.

The bench said it respects the sentiments of the father, but the court cannot decide matters on sentiments and the relief granted by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court was just and equitable, dismissing the appeal filed by Mohammad Latief Magrey.

The top court directed the state government to comply with the high court direction in connection with the compensation to the family and also allow them to offer prayers at the grave.

During the hearing, the advocate representing the Jammu and Kashmir administration submitted that it was not in dispute that the deceased was a terrorist and the CD submitted to the high court showed that all Islamic last rites were performed as per the book.

J&K administration counsel Taruna Ardhendumauli Prasad added that since eight months had passed, the body would have decomposed and exhuming it would only lead to law and order problems since the deceased was a terrorist.

Senior advocate Anand Grover, representing Magrey’s father, argued the last rites are a healing process for the emotional injury inflicted upon the family by denying them the opportunity to have a decent burial. Grover submitted the petitioner has been supporting the army against the militancy in the Kashmir Valley but now he has been demoralised.

“By not allowing the exhumation of the mortal remains and carrying out the ceremony at Wadder Payeen, the petitioner’s fundamental rights under Articles 21 [right to life and liberty] and 25 [right to practice and profess religion] are violated,” Grover said.

Magrey had moved the apex court challenging the Jammu and Kashmir high court order, which did not allow exhumation of his son’s body. Four people were killed in the encounter, including Amir Magrey, on the outskirts of Srinagar on November 15 last year. The petition was filed through advocate Nupur Kumar.

Police said all of them were terrorists and buried their bodies in Kupwara, over 80 km away, even as the families of the four dismissed the claims. After public outcry, the J&K administration buckled under pressure and exhumed the bodies of two of the four, Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Mudasir Gul, and handed them over to their families.

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