The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it won’t stake claim to the ownership of the Taj Mahal. The board said that the Taj Mahal is owned by the Almighty but must be listed as property of the Sunni Waqf Board for practical purposes. The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told senior counsel ADN Rao appearing for the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) that once the board pressed its right over the monument, then it has to adjudicate the issue.
“Once you have registered the monument as a Waqf property, your statement that you will not be staking claim will not help,” said the bench and posted the matter for hearing on July 27. In the last hearing, the apex court had asked the Waqf Board to back its claim on the 17th century monument by producing ownership documents signed by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who commissioned the Taj Mahal.
The board reportedly told the court on Wednesday that it has no such documents signed by the descendants of Shah Jahan and added that it is a Waqf Board property because it is allowed to perform rituals. The board also told the Supreme Court that it can manage the Taj Mahal without ownership.
The development took place one day after YH Tucy, who claims to be the great-grandson of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, said that Taj Mahal belongs to India and Sunni Waqf Board has no claim over it. Tucy had said that the board has no claim over Babri Masjid land either and supported the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
“Remember Emperor Shah Jahan has not written a deed in favour of Waqf,” he said. Lashing out on Waqf for claiming to own the monument, Tucy called it a ‘big land grabber’ and alleged it for raising communal disharmony to gain media attention.
“They do not have even chairs and tables in their offices, how can they manage the Taj? They just want media attention and for that create differences among Hindus and Muslims,” he had added.