Agra: The Supreme Court on Tuesday has asked Uttar Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board to furnish documents signed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, to claim monument’s ownership. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been contesting in the apex court against Wakf Board’s order claiming Taj Mahal as its property.
Hearing an eight-year-old appeal filed by the ASI in 2010, the court directed the board to produce documents. According to Wakf Board, Shah Jahan had declared the monument a wakf property. Now the board has week’s time to produce the signatures of the emperor who died in 1666.
“Who in India will believe it belongs to the wakf board? These kinds of issues must not waste the time of the Supreme Court,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra told the board. The ASI in 2010 had petitioned the court against the wakf board’s July 2005 decision ordering that the Taj be registered as the latter’s property.
CJI Misra further asked the board a few questions; “How did he (Shah Jahan) sign the wakf-nama? He was in jail and used to view the monument while in custody.” The bench also said that the monument was passed on to British after the end of the Mughal rule. From where it had taken over by ASI.
“Under the 1858 proclamation, the properties were taken over from the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, by the British vested with the Queen. By the 1948 act, the buildings were taken over by the Indian government,” ASI advocate ADN Rao said.