Ashutosh death: HC seeks Punjab’s opinion on setting up expert panel

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2014 12:08 IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday asked the Punjab government to submit its opinion to the court about constituting a committee of experts to look into the issue of keeping the body of Ashutosh Maharaj, spiritual head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) of Nurmahal (Jalandhar), inside the deep freezer for more than eight months.

The court headed by justice MMS Bedi was hearing a petition filed by the spiritual head’s son Dalip Kumar Jha, seeking his father’s mortal remains and an inquiry into the cause of the ‘mysterious death’.

On January 29, sansthan doctors had declared Ashutosh clinically dead, after which the sansthan management had kept the body inside a deep freezer, stating that he had gone into ‘samadhi’ (deep meditation).

During the course of arguments, justice Bedi made it clear to all parties appearing in the case, “everything will be done within parameters of law. Please curtail your arguments here to the legal aspects and the fundamental rights are to be claimed from the state.”

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate RS Bains argued, “We are suspecting murder. It has to be probed. The body is inside the freezer for over eight months and it is disrespect to a dead body… A dead body also has the right to be respectfully cremated.”

Some of the spiritual leader’s disciples, who were present in the court, informed that before going into ‘samadhi’, Ashutosh had indicated this to his disciples and they had a strong belief that he would come out of ‘samadhi’ one day like Adiguru Shankracharya, who had come out after an year.

When asked by the court about the difference between a body and a body in ‘samadhi’, a disciple said, “When in ‘samadhi’, vital forces go out of body and then all physiological and biological process come to a standstill.”

After hearing the submissions of disciples, justice Bedi said, “The court cannot give its opinion on ‘samadhi’ and transition period. You may have different opinion and other may not believe you… Anyone can say I am going into samadhi. How will you find out? Osho was also one of them.”

Also, the DJJS, in its reply submitted to the court on Tuesday, questioned the locus standii (legal right) of the petitioner to file the petition. The sansthan submitted that the petitioner is not Ashutosh’s biological son.

The case would now come up for hearing on September 11.

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