A CITY civil court has declared that Sunder Shekhar is not the adopted son of Haji Mastan Mirza. The court, in an order passed recently, has also permanently restrained Shekhar from projecting himself as the adopted son of Haji Mastan. A suit was filed by the three daughters of Mastan — Shamshad, Kamrunnisa and Mehrunnisa — seeking declaration of Shekhar as not an adopted son of Mastan.
According to the daughters, Mirza was the founder member of the All India Dalit Muslim Suraksha Mahasangh, presently known as Bharatiya Minorities Suraksha Mahasangh. They claimed that during his lifetime, he had employed Shekhar. After Mirza’s death in 1994, Shekhar allegedly began to project himself as his adopted son ‘with a view to usurp his properties and hijack his political party’, it was submitted before court. They also submitted that Shekhar had given newspaper interviews, claiming to be Mirza’s adopted son.
Shekhar denied the suit and submitted that Mirza had ‘orally adopted’ him as his son and had also treated him like one. Shekhar claimed that Mirza’s daughters were also aware of this fact. He said that at the time of his marriage, Mirza had worn silk clothes offered by him and had also invited people for the wedding through an invitation card. The court, however, ruled that the invitation card is ‘not sufficient’ to infer that Shekhar is the adopted son. “Treating someone as son is completely different than recognising someone as an adopted son. For recognising someone as an adopted son, something more is required to be proved. Its recognition by law is also required to be proved,” the court ruled.
It said that the invitation card nowhere mentions Shekhar as Mirza’s adopted son. “On the contrary, it is mentioned that he is the son of Mr Chandra Shekhar Karur. Therefore, the story put forth by defendant no 1 (Shekhar) seems to be improbable and unacceptable,” the court has said. Though Shekhar claimed that he had helped Mirza’s daughters in property matters and had taken custody of Mirza’s dead body, the court observed that ‘helping someone is different than conferring status of an adopted son.’
“For conferring status of an adopted son, he has to show that the law by which Haji Mastan Mirza is governed recognises the said adoption and by following requirements of law he is adopted by Haji Mastan Mirza. Admittedly, Islamic law never recognised the concept of adoption. Therefore, on the basis of such helping acts, the defendant cannot project himself as an adopted son of Haji Mastan Mirza,” the court ruled.
In 2005, Shekhar had been arrested in an alleged extortion case. Mirza’s daughters had submitted while they were aware of it, after they filed a police complaint, he had stopped his activities. They claimed in 2010 he had, however, filed a suit before the court again, projecting himself as the adopted son, prompting them to seek an injunction.