New Delhi, Nov 21: In a blow to Jama Masjid Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Delhi High Court has said that he has no legal sanctity to anoint his son as his successor. However, the Court refused to stay the anointing ceremony of Shahi Imam's son as Naib Imam of Jama Masjid.
The High Court has given this judgement while hearing petitions seeking an stay on the dastarbandi ceremony of his son, which Bukhari had announced recently. The anointment ceremony is scheduled for Nov 22.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari recently sparked off a controversy by not inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the ceremony. Instead he urged Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif to grace the occasion.
Hearing petitions on Friday, the High Court asked for a reply from Centre, Wakf Board and Imam Bukhari by January 28 on the matter.
Earlier on Thursday, the central government and Wakf Board told the Delhi High Court that the anointment ceremony of Jama Masjid Shahi Imam's son was "illegal" and has no legal sanctity.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw was told by the Delhi Wakf Board that it has not given any legal sanctity on appointment of Imam and will soon hold a meeting in this regard.
The court was hearing three public interest litigations (PILs) filed that said Jama Masjid is a property of the Delhi Wakf Board and Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari (Shahi Imam) as its employee cannot appoint his son as Naib Imam.
"Despite knowing that the Imam is an employee of the Wakf Board and it's the board which has the right to appoint an Imam, he (Bukhari) has declared his 19-year-old son to be a Naib Imam and is holding a dastar bandi ceremony for the purpose, which is purely anti-Islamic," the pleas said.
Jama Masjid is India's largest mosque built during the Mughal era. Besides, the PILs asked the court to declare invalid the appointment of Bukhari as the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid. The pleas also alleged that there is a "complete anarchy and misuse of power" by the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid.
(With inputs from agencies)