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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

HC says ex-driver's petition not maintainable as Ashutosh Maharaj is dead

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, February 11, 2014
First Published: 23:10 IST(11/2/2014) | Last Updated: 23:15 IST(11/2/2014)

Relying on the medical report declaring Mahesh Kumar Jha alias Ashutosh Maharaj, spiritual head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, Nurmahal, as clinically dead, the Punjab and Haryana high court has dismissed ex-driver Puran Singh's habeas corpus (produce the body) petition for being not maintainable.

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"You (petitioner) are still not satisfied that he (spiritual head) is dead…Showing disrespect to a dead body is an offence. This is what you are doing. This is what you are forcing the court to do," remarked justice MMS Bedi. The court said, "Constitutional privilege of habeas corpus is not available to the petitioner. Dismissed as not maintainable."

Also refusing to appreciate the petitioner's prayer of re-medical of the spiritual head from Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, or any government institute along with a live telecast, justice Bedi said rather, "directions are required to honorably bury the body or dispose it of." He added, "There is provision under section 482 (of Criminal Procedure Code) that I should direct whether he (spiritual head) is dead or alive."

Though the petitioner's counsel failed to satisfy the court on the maintainability of his petition, for the satisfaction of the petitioner, the court mentioned a Supreme Court judgment "Ghulam Sarwar vs Union of India" and a judgment from the Madras high court on the maintainability of habeas corpus petitions. However, the detailed judgment of the court is yet to be released.

Representing the state government, additional advocate general Reeta Kohli argued, "The petitioner is interested in property, it seems.

He is seeking publicity. Well-wishers are those who are sitting quiet." She said she had read some judgment that even in habeas corpus it was also not necessary to produce the body in court when the spiritual head had been stated to be clinically dead.

Rather, Kohli informed the court that Puran Singh had earlier also levelled frivolous allegations against the Sansthan twice and a case was pending against him.

The petitioner had alleged that Sansthan residents namely Arvinda Nand, Soni, Narinder Singh and Vishalanand were responsible for the illegal detention of the spiritual head in order to usurp the dera property and Ashutosh Maharaj should be released from their illegal confinement.

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