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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Allahabad High Court dismisses petition to ‘open 22 sealed doors’ in Taj Mahal

A division bench of Justices Subhash Vidyarthi and Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya issued the order while hearing the PIL filed by Rajneesh Singh.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow |
Updated: May 13, 2022 1:53:20 am
The plea was filed by Dr Rajneesh Singh who is seeking direction to the Archeological Survey of India to open 20 sealed doors of the Taj Mahal to resolve the controversy around its origins. (Express Photo by Nandagopal Rajan)

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to “open 22 sealed doors” of the Taj Mahal in Agra to resolve the “controversy” around the monument’s origins.

A division bench of Justices Subhash Vidyarthi and Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya issued the order while hearing the PIL filed by Rajneesh Singh.

On the petitioner’s prayer seeking direction for opening of sealed doors and removal of certain structures to facilitate historical study, the court said, “We may at this juncture itself indicate that any historical research conducted by the academicians will necessarily involve a particular methodology.

Determination of the question as to which particular methodology of research would yield correct results lies outside the scope of our jurisdiction and powers of judicial review. Such issues should be left to be debated by academicians, scholars and historians. Judges, by experience and training, are not equipped to pronounce any verdict on such non-justiciable issues.”

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The court observed that “on a closure examination of the prayers, we are of the opinion that the petitioner has called upon to adjudicate and give a verdict on a completely non-justiciable issue”.

“While exercising our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution… the power of judicial review is circumscribed by certain well-recognised and established legal principles…one of such principles is the doctrine of non-justiciability,” it added.

The petition also sought direction from the court for appointing a fact-finding committee to study and publish the “real history” of the Taj Mahal.

The court, in its order, said the petitioner sought commissioning of a study so that the history of Taj Mahal may be explored and the “controversy” around it may be put to rest. “As to which subject should be studied or researched or which topic of a particular area or discipline needs to be researched are not the issues where this court possesses any judicially manageable standards to adjudicate upon,” the bench further said.

The judgement read, “There is yet another issue which needs to be considered for deciding whether the writ petition can be entertained in the form it has been presented. It is a well-recognised principle that a writ of mandamus can be issued only in case of infringement of any right, be it constitutional or statutory or any other. When we enquired from the petitioner’s counsel as to from where the right to get a particular study or research conducted on a particular topic or subject emanates, we could not get any satisfactory reply. In the absence of infringement of any legal or constitutional right, we are afraid we are not able to entertain the writ petition.”

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