Plaintiff casts doubts on veracity of will produced by defence witness
Mumbai: As the Syedna succession case hearing veered towards more sensitive issues on Tuesday, the Bombay high court asked the counsel for the plaintiff to exercise extreme caution as the sanctity of the tightly knit community was at stake
Mumbai: As the Syedna succession case hearing veered towards more sensitive issues on Tuesday, the Bombay high court asked the counsel for the plaintiff to exercise extreme caution as the sanctity of the tightly knit community was at stake.
During the hearing, the submissions of Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin, the original plaintiff who died in 2016, were presented by the counsel. The bench was informed that Syedna Qutbuddin had remained silent during 2011 and 2014 when the defendant was announced as the successor of the 52nd Dai only to comply with the instructions of the 52nd Dai to keep his appointment confidential. The counsel said that Syedna Qutbuddin prayed for the 52nd Dai’s health to improve so that could set right the issue of who was his rightful successor.
Earlier, the counsel for Syedna Taher Fakhruddin, who replaced his father in the suit in 2016, said his client had doubts about the veracity of the alleged will of the 49th Dai, which the defendant had brought to prove an instance of the revocation of nass. As per the will, the 49th Dai had first conferred nass on one of his close aides, but changed it four months later. However, Desai informed the bench that though the alleged will was in the custody of the 52nd Dai, a defence witness said he was provided a copy of it by the defendant, which was unlikely since the will was found from a cupboard which could only be accessed by the 52nd Dai.
Referring to the events that unfolded after the 52nd Dai was admitted to a London hospital on June 1, 2011, senior counsel Anand Desai told the bench that though Syedna Qutbuddin was the maazoon (second in command) and mansoos (on whom nass was conferred), he came to know about his superior being admitted to hospital only on June 4. Desai, referring to the deposition of Syedna Qutbuddin, said he was deliberately kept in the dark about these events by those around the 52nd Dai.
Syedna Qutbuddin then came to know that an event was organised in Saifee Masjid on June 6, 2011, wherein a taped message of the defendant’s elder brother would be played and the event would be presided over by the mukasir (third in command). However, assuming that the event was intended to pray for the health of the 52nd Dai, he decided to attend and eventually presided over it.
After the tape was played, wherein the succession of the defendant was announced, Syedna Qutbuddin, though he observed that the 52nd Dai’s conferment of nass upon him privately in 1965 was being violated, remained silent on account of the oath of confidentiality he had sworn to his leader.
Thereafter, Syedna Qutbuddin learnt that the succession of the defendant was going to be announced on the occasion of the death anniversary of the 51st Dai in Mumbai. Torn between the need to attend his father’s death anniversary gathering and avoiding the event where the defendant’s succession would be announced, Syedna Qutbuddin decided to invoke divine consultation through the Quran, and thereafter acted on the verse which recommended that he leave the city before the event.
Desai then informed the bench that after the demise of the 52nd Dai, during a sermon at his residence in Thane, Syedna Qutbuddin announced that he had been conferred the nass by his predecessor privately in December 1965 and hence he was the 53rd Dai. Syedna Qutbuddin held a copy of the Quran which belonged to the 51st Dai and swore upon it to prove that he was being truthful about his succession.