‘Do research’: HC denies nod to open Taj rooms

Published on May 13, 2022 12:25 AM IST

The plea, filed by Rajneesh Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth media in-charge, sought directions to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to probe the 22 closed rooms in the Taj Mahal

Agra, May 12 (ANI): (file photo) Allahabad High Court to hear a petition seeking to open 22 closed doors in Taj Mahal to ascertain the presence of the idols of Hindu deities, in Agra on Thursday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)
Agra, May 12 (ANI): (file photo) Allahabad High Court to hear a petition seeking to open 22 closed doors in Taj Mahal to ascertain the presence of the idols of Hindu deities, in Agra on Thursday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Thursday rejected a plea to open 22 closed rooms in the Taj Mahal to ascertain the presence of Hindu idols, calling it a “mockery” of the public interest litigation (PIL) system and asking the petitioner to research the topic first.

A division bench of justices DK Upadhyay and Subhash Vidyarthi said the petition was not maintainable and that it lay outside the powers of judicial review.

“Tomorrow you will come and ask us to go to chambers of honourable judges? Please, don’t make a mockery of the PIL system. I welcome you to debate the issue with us in the drawing room and not in a court of law,” the court said.

The plea, filed by Rajneesh Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth media in-charge, sought directions to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to probe the 22 closed rooms in the Taj Mahal to ascertain the presence of idols of Hindu deities. He said that he filed right to information applications seeking details of these facts but was unsuccessful .

But the court held that it couldn’t adjudicate on such issues, and said it was outside the scope and authority of the court to order research or study on an issue. “Right to get a research or study not made out. It’s an area of researchers or academicians and not of court. Verdict on historical aspects cannot be given by court under writ jurisdiction. Petition being misconceived is dismissed,” said justice DK Upadhyay.

“Go and research. Do M.A. Do PhD. Then choose such a topic and if any institute disallows you to research on such a topic, then come to us. Please enrol yourself in MA, then go for NET, JRF and if any university denies you research on such a topic, then come to us,” the court added.

The petitioner’s lawyer requested the court to permit him to withdraw the petition and file afresh. However, the court did not accept his request.

“Are these issues debatable in a court of law? Are we judges trained and equipped with such things?” the court asked.

The court pulled up Singh for filing the PIL in a “casual” manner and said it cannot pass an order under Article 226 of the Constitution in the matter. The article empowers a high court to issue to any person or authority under its jurisdiction orders or writs to enforce the fundamental rights.

The bench said that the petitioner could not point out as to which of his legal or constitutional rights were being infringed.

The controversy over the Taj Mahal, considered one of the modern wonders of the world, was first stirred by Purshottam Nagesh Oak’s 1989 book ‘Taj Mahal: The True Story’. In the book, Oak claims Taj Mahal originally was a Shiva temple and a Rajput palace named Tejo Mahalaya, which Mughal emperor Shah Jahan seized and adopted as a tomb.

The theory has been repeatedly debunked by several historians, and even by the Union government in a response to Parliament in 2015. In 2000, the Supreme Court rejected a petition by Oak to declare that the Taj Mahal was built by a Hindu king.

In the plea filed before the Lucknow bench on May 4, the petitioner sought directives to the state government to constitute a committee to examine the 20 rooms inside the 17th century monument and look for any evidence related to the presence of Hindu idols or scriptures there.

“On a closer examination of the prayers made in this petition, we are of the opinion that the petitioner has called upon us to adjudicate and give a verdict on a completely non-justiciable issue,” the court said in its order.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Pawan Dixit has been a journalist for over a decade. He has extensively covered eastern UP for around five years, covered 2012 UP assembly polls, 2014 Lok Sabha polls while being stationed in Varanasi. Now, in Lucknow, he covers outstation political assignments, reports special cases from district court, high court and state information commission

SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, January 30, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals