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R (on the application of GHAI) (Appellant) v NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL & ORS (Respondent) & SECRETARY OF STATE FOR JUSTICE (Interested Party) & (1) RAMGHARIA GURDWARA, HITCHIN (2) ALICE BARKER WELFARE &

The wishes of an orthodox Hindu that his remains be cremated on a traditional fire in direct sunlight could be accommodated under the Cremation Act 1902 and the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, because the kind of structure that he found acceptable for his cremation was a "building" within s.2 of the Act, as that word was to be given its ordinary, wide meaning.

23 February 2010

The appellant orthodox Hindu (G) appealed against the dismissal (Ghai v Newcastle City Council (2009) EWHC 978 (Admin), Times, May 18, 2009) of his claim for judicial review of the decision of the respondent local authority that it would not provide land dedicated for traditional open-air funeral pyres. G, in accordance with his religion, wished to be cremated on a fire in the open air after his death. He had asked the local authority to provide land outside the city for that purpose. It refused, claiming that such a cremation would be contrary to the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, made under the Cremation Act 1902, which required that cremations took place inside a building. In his claim for judicial review G accepted that an open-air cremation would be precluded by law, but argued that the law amounted to an impermissible interference with his right to manifest his religion or belief under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.9. The court accepted that...

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