HC concludes hearing in Syedna succession case, judgement expected in due course
The five issues are: What is a valid nass; what is the doctrinal aspect of nass; whether a nass was conferred on the original plaintiff in 1965 and whether he proved it; whether a nass, once conferred, can be revoked or changed; and whether the defendant proved that a valid nass was conferred on him in June 2011
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday concluded the final hearing in the Syedna succession case which began last November. The conclusion of the 46-day hearing marks the culmination of the eight-year trial, in which both sides made submissions on the five issues framed by Justice Gautam Patel.
The five issues are: What is a valid nass; what is the doctrinal aspect of nass; whether a nass was conferred on the original plaintiff in 1965 and whether he proved it; whether a nass, once conferred, can be revoked or changed; and whether the defendant proved that a valid nass was conferred on him in June 2011.
Senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for defendant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, stated that the original plaintiff, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin, had alleged a conspiracy theory to draw the court’s attention away from the insufficient evidence he had to prove the alleged secret nass conferred on himself in 1965. The conspiracy theory, Dwarkadas added, was also a ploy to cover up the original plaintiff’s failure to get the 52nd Dai to clarify his alleged appointment between June 2011 and January 2014.
The counsel said that while Syedna Qutbuddin had made many allegations against his brother and nephews, Anand Desai, the counsel for the plaintiff’s son Syedna Taher Fakhruddin, had been unable to substantiate them through evidence. The defendant, on the other hand, he said, had proved his appointments in 1969, 2005 and twice in June 2011 through evidence.
Syedna Fakruddin replaced his father in the suit in 2016, claiming that his father, who was the 53rd Dai, had conferred nass on him before dying. Desai had made an emphatic argument that the documents produced by the defendant to prove his appointment surfaced only after the suit was filed in the HC and hence could not be relied upon.
While concluding his arguments against the point made by Desai about the February 2014 sermon of the defendant after he became Dai, Dwarkadas submitted that even as a counsel he was greatly hurt by Desai’s submission about the words cited in the sermon. Desai had referred to the words ‘Doctors may say anything’ to show that the defendant admitted to what the doctors had said about the incapacitated condition of the 52nd Dai.
Dwarkadas submitted that Desai should not have taken just a part of the sentence to prove his point but should have referred to the context of the words, which was to show the divine assistance available to the 52nd Dai to enable him to confer nass even while he was in hospital.
Justice Patel agreed that the sermon should have been referred to in its entirety as per the relevant section of the Evidence Act rather than using a part of it to prove a point.