New Delhi, April 17: Retracting its stand, the Sunni Waqf board told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it would not stake claim to the ownership of Taj Mahal. Media reports say the Board told the apex court that it had no documents to support the claim it had made earlier that it owned the 17th-century monument. It had even claimed, through its lawyer, that Shah Jahan, the Mughal ruler who built the monument in the memory of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, had executed a waqf nama in its favour. The Supreme Court had then asked the Board to produce those documents today.
The court told the Board today, “Once you have registered the monument as Waqf property, your statement that you won’t stake claim won’t help.” The Board told the court that it had no documents from Shah Jahan to furnish in court. On April 11, the bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had said, “How did Shah Jahan sign the waqf nama? He was in jail and used to view the monument while in custody.”
Today, the Board told the Supreme Court that while no human being can claim ownership of the marble monument, it belonged to the Board as it (the Board) was allowed to perform rituals there. The Board had urged for the ownership rights of the monuments which, like many others in the country, is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The ASI refused to relent; if it did so, it feared there could be similar requests over the ownership of other monuments too. It had summoned the court in 2010 following the Board’s order that Taj Mahal be listed as its property. The court set July 27 as the next date of hearing.
Some groups have also claimed that the monument is actually a Hindu Temple, Tejo Mahalaya.