Original and changed nass both based on divine inspiration: Defendant
The HC was also informed that the assumption by the original plaintiff, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin, that nass was conferred on him by the 52nd Dai in a private meeting on December 10, 1965, was not valid as it was not corroborated by any witness
Mumbai: Counsels for the defendant, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, in the Syedna succession case commenced their arguments on Wednesday, submitting that revocation or change of nass (appointment of a successor) was not historically uncommon in the Dawoodi Bohra faith.
The HC was also informed that the assumption by the original plaintiff, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin, that nass was conferred on him by the 52nd Dai in a private meeting on December 10, 1965, was not valid as it was not corroborated by any witness, and the 52nd Dai had publicly announced his appointment only as maazoon (second in command) and not mansoos (successor) later in the day.
Senior counsel Iqbal Chagla also submitted that as there was positive evidence to prove the nass of the defendant in 2011, the latter chose not to attend the hearing or sit in the witness box. In light of this, the claim by the plaintiffs’ counsel that an adverse inference could be drawn was not valid.
The bench sought to know why the plaintiff had made a specific reference to 1988 and said that the behaviour of the defendant and his brothers had changed towards the original plaintiff. He asked the defendants’ counsel to address the issue during their submissions.
Thereafter, senior advocates Fredun Di’Vitre and Janak Dwarkadas for the defendant started with the overview of arguments. While making submissions on why the original plaintiff announced the conferment of nass on him only after the demise of the 52nd Dai, Di’Vitre submitted that he did so, as he knew that his claim could not be refuted. He added that the original plaintiff had tried to build up a premise of the defendant and his brothers being hostile to him and keep him from attaining the highest rank in the community, but that was not the case.
At this point, the bench sought to know that in light of the claims of hostility by the original plaintiff, whether the acts of reverence from 1965 to 1988 by the defendant and his brothers towards him was a camouflage, and if it was not so, who were the ones scheming against the original plaintiff.
The defence counsel added that there were many instances of change in the nass of succession in the past and cited the appointments of the 50th Dai and the 4th Dai as examples. He stated that as per the accepted norms by the community, just as the first appointment was divinely inspired, the subsequent change was also divinely inspired.
In the absence of doctrinal clarity on the issue of nass, Justice Patel said he would not pass a judgement and expected the doctrine on the issue to be made clear.