This chapter, which is enacted for the public welfare in the exercise of the police powers of the state of Tennnessee, shall apply to any burial ground in the state of Tennessee, including any land owned or controlled by cemetery companies, which the court to which jurisdiction is given by this chapter finds, for any of the reasons hereinafter stated, is unsuitable for its use as such and as a resting place for the dead whose remains are buried therein, or the further use of which for said purposes the said court finds, for any of said reasons, is inconsistent with due and proper reverence or respect for the memory of the dead or otherwise unsuitable for said purposes, the said reasons being:
The words "interested persons," whenever used in this chapter, mean any and all persons who have any right or easement or other right in, or incident or appurtenant to, a burial ground as such, including the surviving husband, wife and children, or if no surviving husband, wife or children, the nearest relative or relatives by consanguinity of any one or more deceased whose remains are buried in any burial ground.
Any interested person or persons, and/or any county in this state in which any such burial ground is situated, and/or any municipality in this state if any such burial ground is situated in such municipality or within one (1) mile of the lawful corporate limits thereof and not beyond the limits in which any part of any such municipality is situated and not within the lawful corporate limits of any other such municipality in Tennessee, may bring or join in a suit in the chancery court of the county in which any such burial ground is situated, for the following purpose or purposes: to have the remains of all deceased persons buried in said ground removed therefrom and reburied in a suitable repository to be obtained for that purpose before their removal from such burial ground; to terminate the use of, and all rights and easements to use such ground as a burial ground, and all rights and easements incident or appurtenant to said ground as a burial ground; and thereupon to partition or sell for partition the said ground if the court finds that it belongs to two (2) or more persons and if any one or more of the owners thereof shall apply for such partition. The authority of all municipalities in the state of Tennessee is extended, for the sole purpose of bringing or joining in any such suit by any such municipality, but for no other purpose, to a distance of one (1) mile from the lawful corporate limits thereof but noy beyond the limits of the county in which any part of any such municipality is situated and not so as to come within the lawful corporate limits of any other municipality of the state of Tennessee.
In any such suit all interested persons who are not complainants shall be made defendants, and the owner or owners of the land or of any right of reversion or other right or interest therein, if such owner or owners shall be or include other than the interested persons, shall also be made defendants. Interested persons who are minors or otherwise incompetent or under disability may become complainants by guardian or next friend. All known defendants who are minors or otherwise incompetent or under disability shall be represented by guardian ad litem. Nonresident and unknown defendants may be proceeded against by order of publication, and publication, in the manner provided by law.
Such removal and reinterment, and other relief described in 46-4-103, including partition or sale for partition if prayed for and if the court finds the conditions for partition exist as provided in 46-4-103, shall be granted, authorized, decreed and ordered by the court upon the court finding, upon the hearing of the caue upon the entire record, including the pleadings and proof, that any one or more of the reasons specified in 46-4-101 exist, and that due to the same the said burial ground is unsuitable for use as a burial ground as and as a resting place for the dead whose remains are buried therein, or that the further use thereof for the said purposes is inconsistent with due and proper reverence or respect for the memory of the dead, or for any other reason unsuitable for the said purposes;but said removal and reinterment and said other relief shall be granted, authorized, ordered and decreed only upon it being shown to the satisfaction of the court that definite arrangements have been mad, or before said removal will be made, for reinterment of all of said remains in a place found by the court to be suitable for such reinterment; that for said purpose there have been obtained or before said removal there will be obtained either the fee simple title to said place of reinterment or adequate permanent right and easement to use the same for such reinterment, and adequate permanent right and easement of access thereto for visitation; that the removal and reinterment of all said remains will be done with due care and decency, and that suitable memorial or memorials will be erected at the place of reinterment.