Hyderpora encounter: Supreme Court dismisses father’s plea for handing over son’s body

The Supreme Court Monday rejected a prayer by the father of a man killed in the encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Hyderpora last year seeking directions to allow the exhumation of his son’s body and handing it over to the family for performing last rites.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala said there is “nothing” on record “to indicate that deceased” Amir Magray “was not given a decent burial”. The bench said that while it respects the emotions and sentiments of the appellants, the court of law should not decide the matter on the basis of sentiments but on the basis of rule of law.

The bench said the relief granted by the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court is just and proper and asked appellant Mohammad Latief Magray to comply with it. The court said after a body has been buried, it is considered to be in the custody of the law. It also said that once buried a body should not be disturbed, adding the court will not ordinarily allow the same unless it is shown that it was necessary for the interests of justice.

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court had earlier allowed the family to perform the last rites where the deceased was buried but the family insisted that the body be handed over to it to perform the rites. The HC had also directed payment of Rs 5 lakh to the family to compensate for the deprivation of their rights.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration opposed it asserting that the deceased was a terrorist and exhuming the body now will lead to law and order problems.

The single judge of the high court had on May 27 asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to take out the remains in the presence of Latief Magrey. The court, however, added that if the body is “highly putrefied and is not in deliverable state or is likely to pose risk to public health and hygiene, the petitioner and his close relatives shall be allowed to perform last rites as per their tradition and religious beliefs in the… graveyard itself”.

Four people were killed in the Hyderpora encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar on November 15, 2021.

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