The High Court of Kerala has observed that a private grave or cemetery cannot be constructed according to the whims and fancies of any individual, whether in his property or not, without obtaining a proper license from the District Collector.
The court pointed out that Rule 8 of the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Burials and Burning Grounds) Rules, 1998 specified that no one shall bury, burn or otherwise dispose of a corpse other than on land, which had been registered or had been deemed registered or for which a license had been granted.
The court recently issued the order while denying a petition by Mathew of Muriyad, Thrissur, challenging the show cause notice issued to him by Muriyad panchayat for constructing graves in his 27 cent property without obtaining a license from the district collector.
The petitioner maintained that under the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution, he had the right to build graves on his property for the burial of his family members without obtaining any permission.
The court emphasized that the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 was not an absolute right. No one can be allowed to be undisciplined under the guise of the right to life guaranteed by article 21, which, if allowed, would constitute an attack on the prevailing rule of law in the country.
The court added that the legal framework governing human life plays its dominant position in democracy and therefore individual freedom must yield to the freedom, rights and interests of the community as a whole, otherwise it there would be utter confusion and chaos in the administration of justice, thus ruining the fabric of peaceful coexistence in society.