Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit 24th & 25th August 2015

The cross-examination of the Plaintiff (Syedna Khuzaima QutbuddinTUS) in the Suit filed by him in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court continued for two days on the 24th and 25th of August 2015 at 12:00pm in the historic courtroom No. 46, presided by Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel.

The Plaintiff was cross-examined by the Defendant’s (Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin) Senior Counsel Mr. Iqbal Chagla.

Plaintiff was asked several questions. These included the following:

 

Mr. Chagla asked whether it was correct that Sajda, as a mark of respect, can be offered to persons other than the Dai or the Mansoos. The Plaintiff replied emphatically that Sajda can only be “offered to the Dai or the Mansoos or to a person who is known as one who will succeed the Dai.”
Mr. Chagla asked if all persons of higher spiritual learning knew that the Plaintiff was made the Mansoos, to which the Plaintiff replied that many persons of higher spiritual learning did know. On being asked if the Plaintiff was suggesting that those persons of higher spiritual learning who knew that the Plaintiff had been made the Mansoos offered Sajda to him, the Plaintiff said that many of them did. The Plaintiff added that he was offered Sajda even during the time of the 51st Dai by persons of higher spiritual learning, including Miyasaheb Fidahussain Yamani, who was a learned scholar and was placed first in the tarteeb (hierarchy), used to offer him Sajda. He would also bring his family members to Plaintiff and get them to offer sajda.

Mr. Chagla then asked how many of the Plaintiff’s brother’s offered Sajda to him, to which the Plaintiff replied that they would use the word “Sajda” in their written communications to him. He added that all the sons of the 52nd Dai offered Sajda to him.

Mr. Chagla then asked if the Defendant and his brothers were the Plaintiff’s pupils in matters of spiritual guidance and learning, to which the Plaintiff replied that they were, but not regularly. When asked further how often the Defendant and his brothers were his pupils, the Plaintiff replied that they were regular during one period but not thereafter, for about 10 years after the 52nd Dai assumed office. The Plaintiff said that it was the 52nd Dai who sent his sons to the Plaintiff.

When asked for how long the 52nd Dai sent his sons to the Plaintiff for spiritual instruction, the Plaintiff replied that he did not remember the exact periods. The Plaintiff added that the Defendant and his elder brother used to come to him as pupils from the time of the 51st Dai.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff as stated in his Affidavit of Evidence, in what way did he enjoy the 52nd Dai’s full confidence till his passing away. The Plaintiff replied that the 52nd Dai made him the Mazoon and the Mansoos and the Plaintiff was his Mazoon and Mansoos for 50 years till he passed away. The Plaintiff said that in itself was enough to establish the confidence that the 52nd Dai had in him.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff if the 52nd Dai was in full control of his faculties till he passed away. The Plaintiff replied that the health of the 52nd Dai was not good for the last two and half years of his life.

Mr. Chagla then repeated his question by asking if the 52nd Dai was in full control of his mental and physical faculties till he passed away. The Plaintiff responded that he felt and believed that the health of the 52nd Dai had deteriorated greatly during the last two and half years of his life.

Mr. Chagla further asked if the Plaintiff was referring to only the physical health or mental health of the 52nd Dai as well. The Plaintiff replied that the 52nd Dai was not able to function and carry out his activities as before. Mr. Chagla asked if according to the Plaintiff the 52nd Dai was of sound mind till his passing. The Plaintiff responded that he observed that the 52nd Dai was not either physically or mentally active as he once was.

Then Mr. Chagla asked if the Plaintiff agreed that the 52nd Dai was of sound mind till his passing away. The Plaintiff asked Mr. Chagla to clarify what he meant by “of sound mind”. To that Mr. Chagla asked if the 52nd Dai was insane. The Plaintiff emphatically said “No. I would not say that.”
Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff if the 52nd Dai was capable of taking decisions on his own till his passing away. The Plaintiff said that he was not sure.

On being further asked what his reasons were for doubting the 52nd Dai’s capacity to take independent decisions, the Plaintiff said that whenever he went to the Syedna in the last two and half years of his life he noticed a significant difference in him. On being asked how frequently he visited the 52nd Dai in those last two and a half years, the Plaintiff said that during this period he would visit him often whenever the 52nd Dai was in Mumbai.

Mr. Chagla showed the Plaintiff his Affidavit of Evidence in which the Plaintiff has said that the Defendant and his brothers “started to implement a devious scheme to try and malign the Plaintiff. Mr. Chagla asked in what way they did this. The Plaintiff said that they told people to stop paying respects to him and stop addressing the Plaintiff as “Maula” and not offer him “Sajda”. When asked whether people actually stopped paying respects to him as before as a result of this, the Plaintiff answered that some people did while some defied the Defendant and continued addressing him as “Maula” and would offer “Sajda”. The Plaintiff also said that the Defendant and his brothers told people that if they addressed the Plaintiff as “Maula” they would not be allowed to go to the Syedna (52nd Dai). On being questioned as to when all this started, the Plaintiff replied that it was sometime after 1987.

Mr. Chagla asked whether the Plaintiff would agree that the 52nd Dai was in complete possession of his physical and mental faculties for the period before the last two and half years of his life? The Plaintiff replied that he showed the usual signs of slowing down that come with age. When asked whether this impaired his mental faculties, the Plaintiff responded that he did not have the same mental alertness as before.

When asked whether the Defendant and his brothers held any position in Daawat (the community), the Plaintiff replied that the Defendant and his elder brother were among the Ameer ul-Jamea (the rectors of Jamea Saifiyah academy in Surat). When asked about the Defendant’s other brothers, the Plaintiff replied that they all were given some Daawat responsibility.

The Plaintiff was shown his Affdavit of Evidence in which he has said that the 52nd Dai “actually admonished some of his sons who were not showing the respect they ought to have shown” to the Plaintiff. Mr. Chagla asked which sons was he referring to specifically? The Plaintiff replied that he was referring to the 52nd Dai’s eldest son, Qaid Johar Izzuddin and his younger son Ammar Jamaluddin. When Mr. Chagla further asked whether they changed their attitude to the Plaintiff because of what the 52nd Dai said to them, the Plaintiff replied saying he did not think so.

The cross-examination will continue on the 6th and 7th of October.