Previous article Next article

UK Justice Allows for Open-Air Pyre

on 2010/2/14 8:03:01 ( 922 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, February 10, 2010: Hindus and Sikhs in Britain won a landmark court victory yesterday that will allow mourners to cremate their dead on funeral pyres. The Court of Appeal ruling follows a lengthy battle waged by a devout 71-year-old Hindu for the right to be cremated by "sacred fire" according to the ancient diktats of his religion.

Davender Kumar Ghai's attempt to establish the first approved site in Britain for the 4,000-year-old spiritual ceremony was blocked four years ago by Newcastle City Council, which ruled that human pyres were unlawful. The local authority's decision was upheld by the High Court last year.

That ruling has been overturned by a panel of three Appeal Court judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, who said that existing cremation laws did not prohibit the burning of human remains on a wooden pyre open to natural air and sunlight. To comply with the Cremation Act 1902, the judges said that the ceremonies would merely need to take place within a building, which, to meet Hindu spiritual requirements, could be a roof supported by pillars or a walled structure with no roof.

Lord Neuberger said: "Contrary to what everyone seems to have assumed, it seems to us that Mr Ghai's religious and personal beliefs as to how his remains should be cremated can be accommodated within current cremation legislation."

The decision is a triumph for Kenyan-born Mr Ghai, who has lived in Britain since 1958 and is the founding president of the Anglo Asian Friendship Society. He has described British cremation facilities as "a mechanized humiliation of dignity -- a waste-disposal process devoid of spiritual significance". He argued that to deny him the funeral for which he yearned was discriminatory and violated his human rights.

Previous article Next article
The comments are owned by the author. We aren't responsible for their content.
Publish Comment
Comment Rules*
Comments are always approved
Confirmation Code*

Click to refresh the image if it is not clear enough.

Input letters in the image
The code is case-insensitive
Maximum attempts you can try: 10
Copyright Himalayan Academy. All rights reserved.

Get from the App Store Android app on Google Play