The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday will hear an appeal in the last rites case of Ashutosh, the "clinically dead" sect head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS), Nurmahal (Jalandhar).
On December 1, a high court single judge bench had declared Ashutosh "clinically dead" and constituted a committee led by the Jalandhar district magistrate and directed it to cremate Ashutosh within 15 days.
However, on December 15, the bench of acting chief justice SJ Vazifdar and justice AG Masih had stayed the order and had adjourned the hearing for February 9. The appeal against the order was filed by the Punjab government, DJJS and Dalip Kumar Jha, who claimed to be the son of Ashutosh.
Jha has challenged the December 1 order terming it "erroneous" and argued to claim the mortal remains of the dera head and also demanded that a DNA test be conducted on him to prove his claims.
The dera, in its appeal, has argued that the courts were not competent to distinguish between a "naturally dead body and a body in samadhi (deep meditation)". It has further argued that it was not pleaded before the court whether Ashutosh was dead or not and the court had gone beyond the scope of the pleadings in ordering the last rites.
The Punjab government has argued about its role in the cremation saying its role came into play if the body was unclaimed. The government has argued that the order on the disposal of mortal remains of the sect head was vague.
Ashutosh was declared "clinically dead" by the doctors in January 2014. His mortal remains are lying in a deep freezer on the dera premises as his followers claim that he is in 'samadhi' (state of deep meditation) and is not dead.