In a significant move, the Kerala High Court, on Thursday, February 8, allowed a queer person – Jebin – to attend the funeral of his late partner Manu. However, the court refused to hand over his mortal remains to Jebin citing lack of evidence supporting their relationship. Justice Devan Ramachandran passed the orders while hearing the plea of Jebin seeking permission to receive Manu’s mortal remains, as Manu’s family refused to do so.
According to LiveLaw, the judge had orally observed that the decisions on what to do with the mortal remains of Manu would remain with the parents as they are the legal heirs. Counsel for the petitioner advocate Prashanth Padmanabhan had argued that Jebin held certain rights as the live-in partner of Manu, and as there were no legal rights, the court had to protect the rights of him. However, refusing to enter into the “academic discussion”, the court observed, “The right of an individual to a dignified and decent burial remains inviolable and beyond question.”
Further, the court took note of the fact that the brother of the deceased had no problem with Jebin attending the funeral and directed the police to grant adequate support for him to pay his last respects. The hospital informed the court that the body would be released after the payment of Rs 1 lakh, out of pending bill Rs 1.5 lakh. Jebin and his friends have already crowdfunded the money to settle the bills.
Manu was critically injured after reportedly falling from the terrace of his house on February 2. He passed away on February 4. But his family refused to collect his mortal remains, and as the Indian law did not recognise his partner Jebin as a legal heir, Manu’s body remained unclaimed in the hospital. Subsequently, Jebin approached the High Court seeking permission to receive the body and promised to clear the hospital bills.