THE SUPREME Court on Tuesday expressed concern over the state of the iconic Taj Mahal and wondered if it was turning greenish due to negligence.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, which perused photographs of the 17th century structure produced by environmentalist Advocate M C Mehta, said: “The marble was first becoming yellow… now it seems to be green….”
The bench conveyed its displeasure to Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, who was representing the Centre, and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Uttar Pradesh government.
“It appears that you do not have the expertise or you have but do not want to utilise it or you do not care about it. Every state dignitary visiting the country is made to visit Taj. Either it stays or goes. You have to decide it. There may be a time that there will be no judicial will to deal with this,” the court said.
The court pointed out that some experts may be roped in to assess the damage and decide on the restoration.
Nadkarni replied that there were expert bodies in the country such as the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which has worked to preserve an ancient fort in Goa.
But the court said, “The photographs (of Taj) indicates that there is a lack of will.”
The judges observed, “Perhaps we need some expert organisation from outside India unless there is a decision that the Taj has to go.” It added, “You can get experts from India as well as from outside… Money should not be the consideration… we need to save it.”
Mehta had filed his petition in 1984, drawing the court’s attention to the deteriorating condition of Taj.