LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad HC on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking an inquiry into Taj Mahal’s history. The bench pulled up the petitioner Rajneesh Singh’s counsel Rudra Pratap Singh for filing the plea in a “casual” manner and “making a mockery of the PIL system”. “We welcome you to debate the issue with us in the drawing room, not in a court of law,” the judges said.
When the petitioner mentioned filing multiple RTIs and coming to know about several rooms within the Taj Mahal being kept locked for security reasons, the bench said, “Go and research. Please enrol yourself in MA, then go for NET and JRF, and if any university denies you research on such a topic, then come to us.”
The judges pointed out that they weren’t trained and equipped to deal with such a petition from the historical perspective. “The issue that can be taken up by the court should be justiciable, based on the principle of justiciability,” the formal order said. “Are we sitting on Article 226 to determine the age of the Taj? We cannot pronounce a verdict on conflicting views based on different historical reasons.”
Article 226 empowers a high court to issue to any person or authority in the area under its jurisdiction orders or writs to enforce fundamental rights. Several of the court’s observations weren’t part of the final order.
The petitioner, a BJP member, had argued for setting aside certain provisions of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act 1951, and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, under which the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Itimad-ud-Daulah’s tomb had been declared historical monuments. Rajneesh Singh sought the court’s intervention to open the sealed rooms within the Taj to examine what’s inside.
The bench said such a sensitive issue shouldn’t have been placed before the court without proper historical and legal research. Sensing that the bench was going to dismiss the PIL, the petitioner’s counsel sought to withdraw the plea with the court’s permission to file a fresh plea. The bench didn’t accede to the request. Rajasthan BJP MP and royal scion Diya Kumari had claimed on Wednesday that the land on which the Taj Mahal stands belonged to the erstwhile Jaipur royal family.