The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed Madhubani (Bihar) resident Dalip Kumar Jha to establish before the court his relationship as son of clinically dead Ashutosh Maharaj, spiritual head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan of Nurmahal (Jalandhar) and also his date of birth.
Dalip had moved the high court in April seeking release of the mortal remains of “his father” to him for performing the last rites and also a probe to ascertain the real cause of his “suspicious death”.
On January 29, sansthan doctors had declared Ashutosh Maharaj alias Mahesh Kumar Jha clinically dead, after which the sansthan management had kept the body inside a deep freezer, saying that the spiritual head had gone into samadhi (deep meditation).
“You have to establish the relationship on the basis of conduct. Show any photograph of any social function, like marriage etc, where the petitioner (Dalip) has made any conduct with his father (Ashutosh Maharaj),” ordered justice MMS Bedi while hearing the arguments of Dalip’s counsel RS Bains.
The judge said, “From your date of birth till date, show any photograph or certificate indicating Ashutosh Maharaj is your father. Also bring your birth certificate to prove your age.” The court also directed the other parties in the case to establish all these things.
On this, Bains argued, “Nobody is claiming that I am not Ashutosh Maharaj’s son. State of Bihar and State of Punjab are not questioning this.” But the court emphasised on production of evidence as directed and said that it was up to the petitioner to prove infringement of his fundamental rights and how he was claiming the legal right to file the petition seeking the mortal remains of the spiritual head.
However, Bains argued, “The main thing is about investigation of suspicious death. A small doubt on death is enough to start investigation and nobody can run away from it…Samadhi is afterthought of the Punjab government. First, it was cardiac arrest as stated in the medical report. The story has been concocted…We don’t even permit hearsay evidence, then how could we permit this dream evidence.”
Bains further asserted that under the constitution, customary rights have been established, including cremation of father by son and the petitioner is also claiming protection of his fundamental rights. On this, justice Bedi said, “But at the same time, you can’t enter some religious place and infringe the religious rights of other parties or followers.”
The case will come up for hearing on September 22.