The Punjab and Haryana high court will hear two appeals filed before it on the last rites of Ashutosh, the head of Nurmahal-based dera Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) on Thursday.
Ashutosh’s body has been in a freezer since January after he was declared clinically dead by doctors. Both the appeals are listed for hearing before the bench headed by justice Surya Kant on Thursday.
The DJJS appeal challenging the December 1 order has argued that courts were not competent to distinguish between a ‘naturally dead body’ and a body in samadhi (deep meditation).
The DJJS has also 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. The dera argues that the high court had erred in concluding that Ashutosh had ‘no life’ and deserved to be declared dead, stating that none of the parties had sought declaration about the same.
The second appeal has filed by Bihar native Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be Ashutosh’s son and has demanded his body.
In his appeal, Jha terms the December 1 order in which the court had ruled that Jha had failed to produce “sufficient evidence” that he was Ashutosh’s son “as erroneous”. Both the parties have also contended that court did not give them sufficient time to file an appeal against the December 1 order.
Punjab government review plea rejected
The Punjab government had also filed a review petition on the December 1 order on Wednesday. However, this was rejected by the registry of the high court on technical grounds. Officials said it would be filed again on Thursday.
December 1 decision
On December 1, the high court had constituted a committee led by the Jalandhar district magistrate and directed it to cremate Ashutosh within 15 days. It had also directed the government to oversee the compliance of the order.
An HC bench of justice MMS Bedi is also to hear the DJJS petition on putting its own order in abeyance for 30 days on December 12. The deadline given by the high court to the Punjab government to perform Ashutosh’s last rites is December 17.