'Open 22 rooms in Taj Mahal': Allahabad HC asks petitioners not to make mockery of PIL
Lucknow, May 12: The Allahabad High court began hearing a petition on Thursday seeking to open 22 closed rooms in the Taj Mahal. "Please, don't make mockery of the PIL system," the bench during a hearing on Thursday.
The hearing opened with the petitioner urging the court to open 22 locked rooms inside the Taj Mahal. "There is a truth that the citizens of the country need to know about the Taj Mahal," Advocate Rudra Vikram Singh representing the petitioner said.
But when The plea was filed by Rajneesh Singh, a BJP youth media in-charge, questioned the actual age of the monument, the bench hit back, "You hold that structure is not made by Shah Jahan?"
"Are we here to pronounce any judgement? As to whether who built it or what is the age of Taj Mahal? You need not to take us to historical facts which you believe," the judges said.
The Lucknow bench also stated that the petitioner's plea seeking an order to open the rooms cannot be granted unless there have been any infringement of rights.
"Go and research," the bench told the petitioner and his lawyer.
"Do MA, do PhD and then choose such a topic. And if any institute disallows you to research on such a topic, then come to us."
On more insisting, the judges asked the petitioner not to make a mockery of the public interest litigation system.
"I welcome you to debate the issue with us in the drawing room and not in a court of law," the bench stated.
The hearing will continue after 2 pm.
A petition has been filed seeking a fact-finding inquiry into the "history" of the Taj Mahal, and also opening of the doors of its "22 rooms" to see "the truth, whatever it is".
The writ petition was filed Saturday in the registry of the Lucknow bench of the High Court by Rajneesh Singh, who is the media in-charge of the BJP's Ayodhya unit.
The petition would come up before the court for a hearing after it is passed by the registry.
"In the petition, I have demanded that the 22 doors of rooms of the monument which are closed should be opened to see the truth, whatever it is," Singh told PTI on Sunday.
The Mughal-era monument is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The petition has also sought setting aside certain provisions of The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act 1951, and The Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, under which the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daulah's tomb were declared historical monuments.
Singh has filed the petition through his lawyers Ram Prakash Shukla and Rudra Vikram Singh.
Several right-wing outfits have claimed in the past the Taj Mahal was a Lord Shiva temple.