Mumbai: The cross-examination of His Holiness Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb TUS (the plaintiff) concluded on 29th January 2019, after 27 days of cross-examination of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court. Over 2000 questions in aggregate were asked to His Holiness Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb RA and Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb by the Defendant Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin’s Senior Counsel Mr. Iqbal Chagta.
The next stage will be the cross-examination of the Plaintiff’s expert witness, Professor Devin Stewart, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Emory University, USA. Professor Stewart is an expert on the history and sects of Islam, including the Shi’a Ismailis (The Dawoodi Bohras are a sub-group of Ismaili Shi’as). He is also an expert in Arabic Studies and philology.
Professor Stewart’s cross-examination has been scheduled for five days (28th and 29th November and 2nd, 3rd and 4th December).
The suit was filed seeking a declaration that Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb was the 53rd Dai, having been appointed by the 52nd Dai, His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb RA as his Mazoon (the rank next to the Dai) and Mansoos (successor) on the 17th of Shabaan 1385 (10th December 1965), only 28 days after becoming the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq.
After the sad passing away of the 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb in January 2014, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb announced that he was anointed Mansoos (successor) by Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb and that he was the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq (head of the Dawoodi Bohra community) and not Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin. Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb called upon Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin to a public debate. When Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin did not respond, Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb filed a suit in the Honorable Bombay High Court seeking a declaration that he was the 53rd Dain al-Mutlaq and that Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin be restrained by a permanent order and injunction from in any manner holding himself out as or doing any acts, deeds or things as the Dai al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra Community.
The Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court expedited the suit in June 2014, Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb first appeared for cross-examination on 27th April 2015 and was cross-examined for 8 days over the next few months. On 30th March 2016, Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb sadly passed away, after having been asked 544 questions during cross examination. In June 2016, his successor Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb filed a Chamber Summons to be substituted as Plaintiff in the Suit. In March 2017, the Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel passed an order substituting Syedna Fakruddin Saheb as Plaintiff. Starting in December 2017, Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb appeared for examination-in-chief by his Counsel Mr. Anand Desai and then for cross-examination by Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin’s Senior.