HC looks to end stalemate over last rites of ‘clinically dead’ Ashutosh Maharaj, decide case

The judge, however, made a note, “So far, there is no other Sansthan member, apart from Maharaj ji, whose body has been preserved like this till date.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:November 29, 2016 3:13 am
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Observing that for the past two years, an impasse has continued over the court’s directive over performing the last rites of ‘clinically dead’ Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) head Ashutosh Maharaj and that the Punjab government has virtually thrown the ball in judiciary’s court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has decided to take the case to a logical conclusion at the earliest.

“We don’t want the stalemate to continue. We will test the case on the basis of law, science, belief, morality and ethics and give the verdict,”said Justice Mahesh Grover, heading a division bench, made it clear to all the counsel appearing in the case on Monday, with the direction to come prepared for arguments on December 5. “I propose not to linger on the matter. This case needs a quiet burial…Be ready for difficult questions,” Grover observed, after noticing that the counsels were not prepared for arguments.

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The judge, however, made a note, “So far, there is no other Sansthan member, apart from Maharaj ji, whose body has been preserved like this till date. Lesser mortals go as other mortals. You call it Samadhi and we call it clinical death.”

The court also directed the counsel of the state government to be ready with the existing law on disposal of dead bodies. The counsel appearing for Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims himself to be biological son of Ashutosh Maharaj, has been ordered to address the court on the legal point whether dead body is a property.

After going through the report submitted by the Punjab government in a sealed cover, the division bench headed by Grover observed that the report has nothing much to say and has only touched upon the Constitutional provisions and directive principles of the state. After Sansthan’s senior counsel Girish Agnihotri requested the court to go through the report on the issue of intelligence and medical inputs, the court said, “Believe us. There is nothing against you. They have talked about your good behaviour.”

On January 29, 2014, DJJS doctors had declared the Maharaj clinically dead, after which the DJJS management had kept the body inside a deep freezer, stating that the spiritual head had gone into ‘samadhi’ (deep meditation) and would come out one fine day.