Faith in freezer | HC reserves order on Ashutosh’s last ritespunjab Updated: May 10, 2017 10:50 IST
The spiritual head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) is clinically dead since January 29, 2014. The dera claims its founder is in “deep meditation”.(HT File Photo)
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday said it did not want to enter the arena of belief but at the same time, it could not shut door on the controversy surrounding cremation of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) head Ashutosh.
“It calls for consideration. We can’t shut them out... the ball has been thrown in our court,” the high court bench of justice Mahesh Grover and justice Shekher Dhawan observed as Punjab’s advocate general Atul Nanda argued that courts should not enter the arena of belief and produced some of judgments on the issue.
Clinically dead sect head is lying in a deep freezer since January 28, 2014, at the DJJS headquarters at Nurmahal in Jalandhar. On December 1, 2014, a single-judge bench had ordered last rites of Ashutosh but subsequently on the pleas against it, a division bench stayed the decision. Punjab, DJJS and Ashutosh’s purported son, Dalip Kumar Jha – all are in appeal against the single-judge order. The DJJS wants to preserve the body, claiming that he was in a “samadhi”, Punjab says it can’t interfere with religious beliefs and Jha is laying claim on the body for cremation.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the high court further observed that DJJS had not argued that preservation of body was part of their religious belief. They are arguing that “Maharaj” told them of going into a “samadhi”. They are not able to establish that samadhi was part of their belief, HC bench said.
“There is a belief that Sikh Guru Gobind Singh was reincarnation of Guru Arjan Dev. Somebody may believe or disbelieve this. But that is our own (follower’s) belief that is why it survives,” the court observed, stating that DJJS had nowhere argued that Ashutosh had told them that this was the way followers could achieve (go for samadhi) or this was the way for salvation.
The high court made it clear that observations made during the course of arguments were not indicative of court’s mind and were only made for deliberations.
On the other hand, the purported son of Ashutosh, Dalip Kumar Jha, reiterated demand of DNA test claiming that everything would be crystal clear if his demand was accepted. However, his counsel, SP Soi could not convince the court. He also submitted that mortal remains of Ashutosh were “decaying” to which court said that he could file an application before it and deposit certain amount. A medical team would be constituted and body examined, the HC bench said.
All the petitions filed on the issue have been reserved now for final order.