In Surat Parsi Panchayat Board v. Union of India, the Supreme Court permitted the Parsi Community to perform Dokhmenashini, or the disposal of corpses according to Parsi religious rituals at the Dokhmas (Towers of Silence), for its members who died of COVID-19.
Following discussions between the central government and the Surat Parsi Panchayat (petitioner), a strategy for handling COVID victims evolved. The protocol and standard operating procedure were resolved, among other things, to swiftly erect metallic net gates over the tower of silence, a circular structure used for disposing of the deceased, to keep birds like vultures distant from the bodies. Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General, apprised the Court today that the petitioner and the government had reached an agreement and established a set of guidelines.
The Parsi Panchayat is in the authority of a tower of silences. They’ve decided to put an iron grid and net over the tower of silence so that birds wouldn’t descend to feast on the dead and the bodies are mostly disposed of by intense sun rays, according to Mehta. The same was affirmed by Senior Advocate Fali Nariman, who was representing the petitioners. He claimed that they had struck a deal with the Solicitor General on how the dead will be interred in the Tower of Silence. The Supreme court then concluded in its judgment that the conflict had been addressed satisfactorily and cordially and that the plan was in keeping with the faith and COVID concerns.
Certain conditions are stated in the protocol issued by the Court. The corpses of Parsi Zoroastrians who die as a result of Covid 19 will be carried to the Tower of Silence complex’s funeral parlor, where they will be handled entirely by the Nassasalars (professional Corpse bearers who have been professionally employed by the Panchayats). Before each burial and conducting out process for managing corpses as per existing COVID requirements, the corpse porters are to be thoroughly vaccinated and their temperatures are to be appropriately documented.
Relatives and friends will not be allowed to touch the dead body, and they will be made to stay at least 10 feet away from it. The Nassasalars will wear the PPE kit, gloves, face shield, and N – 95 mask at all times while managing the dead body of the Parsi Zoroastrian COVID-19 victim, and the Government of India directive regarding the dead bodies of COVID – 19 victims will be read and described to them, and they will be advised to pursue the directives of the Government of India.
The body of the COVID-19 Parsi victim will be brought to the Tower of Silence Complex by the Nassasalars in a body bag that will not be opened, but the face of the deceased will be allowed to be seen by the family from a distance of at least 10 feet by unzipping the face – covering of the body bag, as per existing guidelines.

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