The PIL, filed by a BJP worker, sought permission to open 22 locked rooms in the Taj Mahal to “bring out the truth” of the monument.

Taj mahalMaxPixels
news Court Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 18:35

The Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench on Thursday, May 12, dismissed a petition seeking the opening of 22 rooms in the Taj Mahal premises, while sharply criticising the petitioner for making a “mockery of the Public Interest Litigation system”. The two-judge bench was hearing a PIL that sought direction to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for permission to open the 22 locked rooms in the Taj Mahal, claiming that studies need to be conducted to “bring out the truth” of the monument.

The petitioner, one Dr Rajneesh Singh, is reportedly the media in-charge of the Ayodhya BJP unit. He had filed multiple PILs at the High Court seeking the same, and on Thursday, the court dismissed them, rebuking him sharply. "Tomorrow you will ask for permission to see our chambers. Please, don't make a mockery of the PIL system," the bench said during the hearing.

The petition cited the claims of some historians and Hindu groups about the mausoleum actually being an old Shiva temple. The petition has sought the ASI to form a special committee to examine the locked rooms and release the report to the public. Justices DK Upadhyay and Subhash Vidyarthi questioned the petitioner on what his plea was. Pointing out that the petitioner wants the court to issue a writ of mandamus, they stated it can only be issued in case of infringement of rights.

"What judgment do you want us to pronounce? Who built the Taj Mahal? Don't go into historical facts... Mandamus can only be issued when rights have been infringed. What rights of yours have been infringed?" the bench asked, questioning whether getting a study conducted was a right.

The petitioner reiterated that citizens need to know why multiple rooms in the monument are said to be locked due to "security reasons". The bench responded sharply, saying: "Who are you asking the information from? If you are not satisfied that the rooms have been closed for security reasons, use your remedies in law to challenge that. Do some research first — do an MA, PhD, enrol yourself somewhere. Don't make a mockery of this."

The court was of the view that the petition was based on a “completely non-justiciable issue”, and observed that the issue should be examined by historians, and not the court. The bench also pointed out that as the ASI had turned down Singh’s request earlier, he may challenge the order rather than file such petitions at the High Court. 

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.