The Punjab government on Tuesday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that mortal remains of Ashutosh, the sect head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS), which is lying in a freezer at dera premises at Nurmahal in Jalandhar, can be kept as such for indefinite period.
Replying to a query of the high court division bench of justice Mahesh Grover and justice Shekher Dhawan, state’s additional advocate general Reeta Kohli said as per the report of medical board constituted by the state government, the body can be kept as such for indefinite period. Kohli replied to a query of the division bench as to how long the body could be kept in the freezer. The report cited by Kohli was submitted to high court earlier this year, but has not been made public and shared with the other parties in the dispute.
Earlier, DJJS argued that the body should not be ordered to be disposed of as followers believe that he would come back. If the rights of a person are being infringed upon, the situation would warrant interference of law. But that is not the case here, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi argued, stating that there is no law and order problem, no issue of morality and health so far and the body lying in freezer for over three years now. Even state’s report says so, he submitted.
The DJJS also argued that these days law permits an individual to decide as to what happens to his body parts after his death citing the organ donation law. “Liberty includes everything, unless stopped by law, public order or health,” Dwivedi argued, stating that state and courts can step in anytime if situation demands at a later stage. “Let time decide, some issues can best be resolved with time..,” he said.
Ashutosh was declared clinically dead on January 28, 2014, and since then his mortal remains are lying in a freezer on the dera premises. On December 1, 2015, a single-judge bench had asked the government to perform the dera head’s last rites within 15 days. The order was stayed by a division bench the same month. DJJS, Punjab, and one Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be Ashutosh’s son, have filed an appeal against the single-judge order. The arguments will continue on February 7.