Won’t stake claim to Taj Mahal: Wakf Board to SC

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New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it won’t stake claim to the ownership of the Taj Mahal.

Asking senior counsel A.D.N. Rao appearing for the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take instructions, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that once the Board pressed its right over the monument then it has to adjudicate the issue.

“Once you have registered the monument as a Wakf property, your statement that you will not be staking claim will not help,” said the bench and directed the next hearing on July 27.

In its hearing on April 11, the apex court asked the Wakf Board to produce an original title document bearing the signatures of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to prove its claim.

Telling the court the Taj Mahal is owned by the almighty, the Sunni Wakf Board on Tuesday said it has no document from the Mughal rulers or their descendents bestowing the 17th century monument in its favour.

The Board said the monument belonged to it as its members have been continuously performing Urs on the death anniversary of Emperor Shah Jahan and Friday Namaz at the Majid located in the compound of the Taj Mahal.

Such a course would create problems, observed the bench.

In an obvious reference to a decedent of Mughal empire, the Board told the court that no human can lay claim to the magnificent monument.

Y.H. Tucy, who claims to be the great grandson of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, has said that the Taj Mahal is the nation’s property and no one can claim right over it.

“Remember Emperor Shah Jahan has not written a deed in favour of Waqf,” Tucy had told IANS in an interview.

The Archaeological Survey of India moved the top court in August 2005 after the Wakf Board registered the Taj as Wakf property.

The top court then issued notices on ASI’s plea and stayed the board’s move and the matter is pending since then.



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