Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court adjourned till March 19 the hearing on the cremation of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan sect head Ashutosh Mahara, while allowing the petitions filed by four women disciples. Earlier, the bench had stayed the order of a single judge on cremation of Ashutosh.
As the matter came up for hearing, a division bench of the court comprising acting Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar and Justice Augustine George Masih allowed the four petitions moved by 'Sadhvis' against the order of single bench and fixed the next date of hearing in the case.
On 1 December, Justice MMS Bedi, the single judge of the court, had ordered that the sect head be cremated within 15 days. The Sansthan had on December 30 moved an application before the court seeking extension of time for 30 days to enable it to challenge the order passed by the single judge of the court on performing last rites of Maharaj.
On January 29 last year, Sansthan doctors had declared Ashutosh alias Mahesh Kumar Jha clinically dead, after which the Sansthan management kept the body inside a deep freezer, stating that he had gone into 'samadhi'. 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 spiritual head's former driver, had also approached the high court, seeking a CBI probe into the death of Maharaj.