Ashutosh Maharaj's cremation row: HC defers hearing till Feb 9

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday deferred till February 9 its verdict on the plea moved by the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, which has sought a 30-day extension on the deadline given by the court to perform last rites of its spiritual head Ashutosh Maharaj, who was declared clinically dead on January 29.

Ashutosh Maharaj's cremation row: HC defers hearing till Feb 9

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday deferred till February 9 its verdict on the plea moved by the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, which has sought a 30-day extension on the deadline given by the court to perform last rites of its spiritual head Ashutosh Maharaj, who was declared clinically dead on January 29.

During today's hearing, the court said that it will take up for hearing all three cases filed by various parties in connection with the sect leader's last rites. The HC ruling implies that Ashutosh Maharaj will remain in the deep freezer and will not be cremated till the next hearing in the case February 9.

The high court had earlier deferred its decision on the plea moved by the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan Ashram till today.

During the previous hearing, Justice MMS Bedi had asked the petitioner to put on record any court law wherein he could stay his own previous ruling in connection with the case. The court also put question mark over the maintainability of the petition filed by the ashram before adjourning the case for December 11.

Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan had moved a petition in the High Court yesterday, saying they want a month's time to challenge the single judge bench order, which had directed on December 1 to conduct the last rites of the godman within 15 days, before a division bench.

On December 1, the court had directed constitution of a committee under the District Magistrate to look into the matter and asked the DGP and chief secretary to monitor the situation.

The court had also observed that religious sentiments of the followers should not be hurt.

On January 29 last, ashram doctors had declared Ashutosh alias Mahesh Kumar Jha clinically dead, after which the management had kept the body inside a deep freezer, stating that the spiritual head had gone into 'samadhi' (deep state of meditation).

One of the petitioners, Dalip Kumar Jha, had moved the High Court in April, seeking the release of mortal remains of "his father" to him for performing last rites and also a probe to ascertain the cause of his "mysterious death".

Another petitioner, Puran Singh, claiming himself to be the former driver of Ashutosh, had also approached the court, seeking a CBI probe into the "suspicious" death.

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