Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Funeral Pyres

A Hindu spiritual healer has won the right to be cremated on a traditional funeral pyre after the Court of Appeal ruled that his last wishes can be carried out within existing legislation.

Davender Ghai, 71, who believes that a pyre is essential to "a good death" and the release of his spirit into the afterlife, was refused permission to be cremated according to his Hindu beliefs by Newcastle City Council and lost a challenge to that decision at the High Court in London in May last year.

But the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, who headed a panel of three appeal judges, said before delivering the court's ruling: "Contrary to what everyone seems to have assumed below, and I am not saying it is anyone's fault, it seems to us that Mr Ghai's religious and personal beliefs as to how his remains should be cremated once he dies can be accommodated within current cremation legislation."

But not, it would seem in Scotland. According to the Scottish Government's 'Consultation Paper on Death Certification, Burial & Cremation' (Which is actually an interesting read)

106. At present home cremation is not legal, however, to prevent any dispute or legal challenge the Review Group has recommended that any future legislation should specifically state that open air / home cremation is not legal. The Scottish Government is in agreement with this recommendation and will incorporate such a clause in any future relevant legislation.

I wonder if any new legislation in Scotland will be tight enough to fend off any legal challenge for a 'home cremation'? Alternatively, should provision be made for this kind of funeral?


Lallands Peat Worrier said...

Great minds clearly think alike. Despite the sins of your Toryism - I agree that the unpromising title of that publication concealed much that is important to think about. Not to be too grim and declamatory, but death's place in our 21st century nation. I wrote a wee something about it myself, but got swept away by the curious detail attending any would-be burial at sea.

Jim said...

Thanks Lallands, there is a lot in there that everyone should be interested in, and I hope people make their views known.