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Syedna succession case: Case of Ismail proves that nass cannot be revoked: Plaintiff

ByK A Y Dodhiya
Mar 25, 2023 12:37 AM IST

Justice Gautam Patel, while hearing the rejoinder to the submissions of the defendant ’s counsel, was informed by senior counsel Anand Desai that it was a fundamental belief of the Dawoodi Bohra community that nass could not be changed or revoked.

MUMBAI: The counsel for plaintiff Syedna Taher Fakhruddin in the Syedna succession case being heard in the Bombay high court, on Friday refuted the claim of defendant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin that nass once conferred, could be revoked.

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Justice Gautam Patel, while hearing the rejoinder to the submissions of the defendant ’s counsel, was informed by senior counsel Anand Desai that it was a fundamental belief of the Dawoodi Bohra community that nass could not be changed or revoked. Desai drew the attention of the bench to the fact that the 5th Imam of the Ismaili Shias had conferred nass of succession on his son Ismail and directed Ismail to appoint his son Mohammad as his successor.

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The court was told that the Ismaili Shias believed that nass had been conferred on Ismail by his father, and though he predeceased his father, the nass was not revoked. The Dawoodi Bohras, said the counsel, believed that the schism between Ithna Ashari Shias and Ismaili Shias occurred because the latter firmly believed that as Ismail was conferred nass, his death could not lead to his replacement, and thus the Imamat was passed on to Ismail’s son, Mohammad. Desai submitted that none of the Dais had disputed the sequence of events.

The bench was also told that the plaintiff, in his deposition, had made this stand clear by stating that he had heard the 51st and 52nd Dai on numerous occasions state that nass once conferred, could not be changed.

Desai also referred to the will of the 49th Dai, which the defendant had submitted as proof of nass having been changed by him. Desai said that the letter in which the 49th Dai had informed his son of nass being conferred on him, which was allegedly changed four months later, could not be relied upon, as the letter was allegedly part of the bundle in the cupboard of the 52nd Dai, and as there was no evidence to corroborate the contents of the cupboard, this letter could also not be relied upon as it would mean that God, the Imam and the Dai were fallible.

As the final hearing of the suit is coming to an end, the bench asked both parties to ensure that all the evidence was accounted for and provided to the court in the proper format: printouts of the written submissions as well as the digital evidence in a hard drive which would be kept with the concerned HC authority as a record.

The plaintiff’s counsel is expected to conclude the rejoinder by the end of next week and the defendant has been asked to conclude his sur-rejoinder.

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