The Bombay high court framed issues in the Dawoodi Bohra succession dispute on Monday, and will adjudicate, among other things, on whether the challenger to the leadership can prove that he was conferred/pronounced with “nass” – the official declaration of succession.
Khuzaima Qutbuddin, the 73-year-old half-brother of the late Syedna had in March filed a suit against the official successor, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, seeking that he be restrained from taking actions as the leader and that Qutbuddin be declared as the 53rd Dai.
The 52nd Dai- al Mutlaq (religious leader of the community) had passed away in January.
Qutbuddin’s claim is that the late Syedna had privately anointed him to take over several years ago. The other side has said Saifuddin was publicly anointed as successor.
“What are the requirements of a valid nass as per the tenants of the faith?” is one of the issues that has been framed and was recorded in Monday’s order. Further, the court will decide on whether Qutbuddin “proves that he was ever conferred/ pronounced a validly pronounced nass as stated in the plaint”.
Both sides came with broad issues that they had previously exchanged with each other, which were fine-tuned by the court.
Justice GS Patel also raised the issue of translation of the scriptures crucial to the case. “How will you prove the correct interpretation of texts?” the judge asked.
Both sides informed him that they had approached the court translator but the issue had not been really gone into.
The judge then asked if anyone in the legal community was equipped to do this.
“Otherwise it will be one expert against another expert,” said the judge. “How will you cross-examine each other’s witnesses?”
The suit will next be heard on October 14 for fixing the next date of hearing after certain formalities are done and for deciding the schedule for the trial.