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Shahi Imam anoints his son as Naib Imam of Jama Masjid

India TV News Desk 22 Nov 2014, 21:01:00 PM IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, today annointed his son as the Naib Imam of the historic mosque.

The 'Dastarbabi' ceremony was held in Jama Masjid premises today. The ceremony was attended by numerous Muslim religious leaders although political bigwigs were conspicuous by their absence.

Shahi Imam had invited Pakistan Prime Miniter Nawaz Sharif for the ceremony but he was represented by Abdul Basit, Pakistan's High Commissioner to India.

The high court on Friday said the ceremony by Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari to annoint his son as his successor has no legal sanctity. However, the court refused to stay the ceremony scheduled for tomorrow.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said the function is not legal and will not give any “special equities” in their (Imam's) favour. The bench issued a notice to, and sought responses of the Centre, Wakf Board, and Bukhari on the three PILs challenging the Imam's decision to appoint his son as the Naib Imam (deputy Imam). The court also questioned the Board for not taking any action against Bukhari till date.

On Thursday, during arguments on the three petitions, the Centre and the Wakf Board had submitted before the court that the ceremony by the Imam anointing his son, as his deputy and successor, has no legal sanctity.

The Board, in its response to the court's query about their legal position on the issue, had also said that it would be holding a meeting soon and action will be taken against Bukhari for what he has done.

Earlier, the Centre had said that Jama Masjid, a Mughal-era mosque, is a Wakf property and it has to decide how the rule of primogeniture applies on anointment of new Shahi Imam, which has come under challenge.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had also requested the court to declare Jama Masjid as an ancient monument because of its national importance while contending that it needs to be protected.