The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking directions to open 20 rooms of the Taj Mahal in Agra to check for the possible presence of Hindu idols or scriptures, Bar and Bench reported.
“Tomorrow you will come and ask us to go to chambers of honourable judges,” the two-judge bench of Justices DK Upadhyay and Subhash Vidyarthi rebuked the petitioner. “Please, do not make a mockery of the PIL [public interest litigation] system.”
The petition had been filed by Rajneesh Singh, the in charge of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s media desk in Ayodhya.
Mughal king Shah Jahan had commissioned the construction of the Taj Mahal in 1632 and the project was finished in 1653. However, some Hindutva pseudo-historians have propounded the theory that the mausoleum pre-dated Shah Jahan and was built long before Muslim rule began in India.
In his petition, Singh had sought directions from the court to the Archaeological Survey of India to constitute a fact-finding committee and to “look for important historical evidence” like idols and inscriptions believed to be hidden in the Taj Mahal.
“I welcome you to debate the issue with us in the drawing room and not in a court of law,” the judges said while dismissing the plea.
The judges observed that the petitioner had approached the court to give verdict on a “completely non-justiciable issue”, Live Law reported.
The court also took exception to the petitioner’s argument that he had filed applications under the Right to Information Act. The authorities had responded to him saying that the rooms in Taj Mahal are locked due to security reasons.
“What are you seeking is exploration of facts by way of a committee,” the court said, according to Bar and Bench. “That’s none of your rights and it’s not under the ambit of RTI Act.”