Mix-up in names by scribes led to confusion on revocation of nass: Defendant
The bench of Justice Gautam Patel was told that plaintiff Syedna Fakhruddin, while maintaining that nass once conferred could not be changed, had said during questioning that the 25th Dai had not conferred nass as immediate successor on Dawood bin Qutubshah at all
Mumbai: Fredun Di’Vitre, counsel for defendant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, on Friday informed the Bombay high court that the claim of the plaintiffs, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin and Syedna Taher Fakhruddin, that no conferred nass was revoked during the time of the 25th Dai was due to scribal errors in the manuscripts of authoritative books.
The defence counsel clarified that Syedna Jalal, the 25th Dai, had appointed Dawood bin Qutubshah as his successor even before he became the Dai and had told the dignitaries about it. However, after receiving the news of the demise of Syedna Yusuf, the 24th Dai in Yemen, Syedna Jalal called the dignitaries and informed them that Dawood bin Ajabshah would be his successor as the 26th Dai and that Dawood bin Qutubshah would succeed him as the 27th Dai. The appointment, said Di’Vitre, was changed because the Dai had a dream in which the secluded Imam told him to appoint both Dawoods as his successors.
The bench of Justice Gautam Patel was told that plaintiff Syedna Fakhruddin, while maintaining that nass once conferred could not be changed, had said during questioning that the 25th Dai had not conferred nass as immediate successor on Dawood bin Qutubshah at all. Di’Vitre referred to the manuscripts which had cited the event and submitted that the scribes had mixed up the names Ajabshah and Qutubshah but one of the earliest manuscripts had mentioned the correct sequence, and hence the claim of the plaintiff could not be accepted.
The correct sequence, Di’Vitre reiterated, was that Syedna Jalal first appointed Qutubshah as his successor but later appointed Ajabshah as his immediate successor and told Ajabshah to appoint Qutubshah as his successor. This, D’Vitre said, proved that nass was revoked, and it was an accepted practice in the community.
However, Justice Patel noted that while weighing the evidence before the court, the latter was not expected to reconcile the contradictions in the evidence and it was for the plaintiff to disprove the evidence as it was for the defendant to submit evidence that was uncontroverted and clear. He added that the burden of proving their respective arguments was on both parties.
The bench then sought to know whether the plaintiff had been questioned regarding the appointment of the 50th Dai by the 49th Dai, as the events were similar to those during the time of the 25th Dai. Di’Vitre said that the plaintiff was not asked about it as they had taken the stand that after the 43rd Dai, nass was only conferred orally and there was no written nass since then.