'Still no response from Saudi side': MEA informs Delhi HC on repatriation of remains of Indian man

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Representative image
Representative image

By Sushil Batra

New Delhi [India], April 5 (ANI): The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday informed the Delhi High Court that the officials had reminded the Saudi Embassy to expedite the repatriation process of the mortal remains of an Indian man.

The submission was made by Vishnu Sharma, Director, CPV Division MEA, today before the court, apprising that the efforts are on to expedite the process to exhume the mortal remains of the deceased, who was Hindu and was mistakenly buried in Saudi Arabia.

The official said the communication was done through phone, Whatsapp and Email also, however, there is no response from the Saudi side in the matter.

The official also informed that no timeline has been set/given but best efforts are in process to resolve the matter.

"We have to go through the diplomatic channel only and need to follow all protocols. We have some limits," the MEA official said.

After taking note of the submissions, Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh on Monday said, "However, there is no positive response on repatriation of remains. The Indian Consulate shall also find other ways to approach any other authority who can be approached to bring back the mortal remains of the petitioner's husband."

The bench, while posting the matter for Thursday, asked the ministry to avail other legal remedies to the family of the deceased, if possible.

Counsel for the petitioner (deceased's wife) Advocate Subhash Chandran KR showed displeasure with the ministry, saying "no positive progress has taken place" into the matter.

Earlier, the court had directed the MEA official to visit the Saudi Mission in New Delhi and informed about the pending proceedings and hand over the copy of orders passed by the High Court.

The MEA had submitted that the Indian mission in Saudi Arabia had not given the NOC (no objection certificate) for local burial, the death certificate was translated by the employer, not by the Indian mission and burial had taken place in a non-Muslim graveyard.

The MEA official ahd also informed the court that they received Rs 4.65 lakhs as compensation from the employer and the cheque will be handed over to the family.

Advocate Subhash appeared for the deceased had submitted that Sanjeev worked 23 years in Saudi Arabia and as per the information received from the colleagues of the deceased, his family is entitled to approximately Rs 30-40 lakhs as the end of service benefits and insurance. Only the Indian mission can verify the details and help the family for getting them.

The petitioner had recently approached the Delhi HC and sought to exhume the mortal remains of her Hindu husband, who was mistaken as a Muslim and buried in Saudi Arabia.

The widow has pleaded for repatriation of the mortal remains to India to conduct his last rites as per the faith of the family.

According to the petition, the woman's husband named Sanjeev Kumar, an Indian citizen passed away on January 24 this year at his workplace in Saudi Arabia. Kumar, who worked in Saudi Arabia for 23 years died due to diabetes, hypertension and cardiac arrest and the mortal remains were kept in Beesh General Hospital, Jizan, Saudi Arabia. (ANI)