The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday adjourned to May 25 the hearing on an appeal challenging the order for performing the last rites of Ashutosh, the “clinically dead” sect head of Nurmahal (Jalandhar)-based Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS).
Additional solicitor general of India Satya Pal Jain, who was the lead counsel on behalf of the DJJS, appeared before the bench and submitted that the hearing be adjourned as due to his new assignment, he would not be able to appear on behalf of the sect. Following the request for adjournment, the HC posted the matter for further hearing on May 25.
The DJJS, Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be Ashutosh’s son, and the Punjab government, have all approached the HC division bench against the single-judge order to perform the last rites of the sect head. Punjab has roped in Ranjit Singh, additional solicitor general of India, besides Reeta Kohli, additional advocate general, who has appeared in this case in the past as well.
On December 1, 2014, a high court single-judge bench had declared Ashutosh “clinically dead” and directed the Punjab government to cremate him within 15 days. However, on December 15, a division bench stayed the order on an appeal from the DJJS, Jha and the Punjab government. The sect head was declared “clinically dead” by doctors in January 2014. His mortal remains are lying in a deep freezer on the dera premises since then, with his followers claiming that he is in ‘samadhi’ (state of deep meditation).