Miffed over the Punjab government’s dilly-dallying on the funeral of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan head Ashutosh, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday told it to decide by the next hearing September 16 or argue the case on merit.
Declared clinically dead in January 2014, the head of Nurmahal-headquartered sect in Jalandhar district is in deep freezer (deep meditation, claims his dera) since. On September 29 last year, the court had told the dera to offer a solution, since Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be sect head’s son, is seeking to perform Ashutosh’s funeral.
Since then, the matter has been adjourned on various accounts, as the government and the dera have failed to find a solution. During the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the high court bench of justice Mahesh Grover and justice Shekher Dhawan asked the government to explain the delay. The government’s counsel said allowing funeral could disrupt the law and order.
The court observed that a state with police and other agencies at its disposal should have no problem dealing with trouble. Later, the division bench adjourned the matter and told all parties that if they arrived at no consensus, the court would hear the matter on merit from September 16.
On December 1, 2014, even a single-judge bench of the high court had declared Ashutosh clinically dead and directed the Punjab government to cremate him within 15 days. His followers and the state government challenged the order and got a stay.