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Defendant, witnesses backtracked on nass issue, says counsel

ByK A Y Dodhiya
Dec 06, 2022 12:42 AM IST

The counsel also submitted that these manuscripts were not part of the authoritative books and sermons relied upon by the Dais. Some defence witnesses too, he added, had agreed to the books being ‘Nakasa’ (incomplete or unreliable), and some witnesses had even admitted that they had never heard of them

Mumbai: Arguments in the Syedna succession case on Monday became more pointed as Anand Desai, counsel for Syedna Taher Fakhruddin, submitted that the three documents referred to by the defendant—which sought to prove that conferment of nass had to have witnesses, and also that nass, once conferred, could be revoked—were not reliable due to discrepancies in the manuscripts.

Defendant, witnesses backtracked on nass issue, says counsel

The counsel also submitted that these manuscripts were not part of the authoritative books and sermons relied upon by the Dais. Some defence witnesses too, he added, had agreed to the books being ‘Nakasa’ (incomplete or unreliable), and some witnesses had even admitted that they had never heard of them.

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However, the bench noted that incomplete books would not make necessarily make the rest of the content in the books unreliable, and there had to be explicit proof to discredit the books referred to by the defence.

Desai then submitted that neither the 51st nor the 52nd Dai had referred to the said books in their treatises or sermons, and some documents produced as evidence seemed to have been altered.

The attention of the bench was then drawn to the sermons of defendant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin during 2013 and 2014, pertaining to the issue of appointing successors during the time of the third, fourth and the fifth Dai. Desai submitted that in 2013, the defendant had maintained the line of his predecessors that the third Dai had intended to appoint the fifth Dai as his immediate successor but had not done so. However, in the 2014 sermon, he had stated that the third Dai appointed the fifth Dai as his immediate successor but later revoked the appointment and appointed his own son instead. This, Desai said, was to prove that revocation was permitted in the faith.

The bench was then informed about the appointments during the time of the 24th, 25th and 26th Dais and submitted that based on the deposition of Syedna Fakhruddin, the conferment of nass on the 27th Dai, Dawood Qutubshah, by the 25th Dai, Yusuf Najmuddin, was for some other post like leading prayers in the absence of the Dai. The nass of succession, distinct from other nass, was done only on the 26th Dai, Dawood Ajabshah, and hence there was no revocation of nass even at that time. Desai pointed out that the defence witness, an expert in doctrine, had initially confirmed this but later backtracked in his affidavit.

Similarly, the bench was informed of the appointment issue being raised during the appointment of the 50th Dai. However, after it was told that there was no documentary evidence either from the 49th or 50th Dai in this regard, the bench sought to know what the 51st and 52nd Dai had to say and adjourned the hearing.

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