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.

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit 29th & 31st July and 4th and 5th August 2015

The cross-examination of the Plaintiff (Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin TUS) in the Suit filed by him in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court continued for four days, commencing on the 29th of July 2015 at 12:00pm in the historic Courtroom No. 46, presided by Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel. The cross examination continued on 31st July, 3rd August and 4th August.

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

Over eight sessions and 12 hours of cross-examination, the Plaintiff was asked about two hundred and fifty questions. These included the following:

Mr. Chagla asked, in the Plaintiff’s opinion, what was the significance of the 52nd Dai, Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA, referring to him as his beloved son (Al Walad-ul-Ahab), in the sermon while he appointed him as Mazoon. The Plaintiff replied that the 52nd Dai meant that the Plaintiff was to be his successor.
Mr. Chagla asked, Is it correct that in the sermon of which you spoke earlier, the 52nd Dai used precisely this expression Al-Walad-Al-Ahabb?

The Plaintiff replied in the affirmative and further said “I was his brother and also his beloved son.” The Plaintiff further said that when “The 42nd Dai appointed the 43rd Dai, who was his brother as his successor. He said that the 43rd Dai was his brother but was also spiritually his beloved son.”

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff whether the raza of the Dai is required to discharge or perform Dawat functions. The Plaintiff said yes. Mr. Chagla asked whether the raza of the Mazoon would ever be required, the Plaintiff responded yes, in case if Syedna is traveling. Mr. Chagla then asked if the Mazoon is able to issue a raza only if the Dai has already issued him (i.e. the Mazoon) a raza in the matter. The Plaintiff responded that while the Dai is whole and sole, the Mazoon-ul-Mutlaq holds a special raza granted at the time of appointment. However, the Plaintiff added that in his 50 year tenure as Mazoon of the 52nd Dai, it was his practice to always ask Syedna beforehand.

Mr. Chagla asked what is the Raudat Tahera, the Plaintiff responded it is the mausoleum of his revered father, 51st Dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, and the 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. Mr. Chagla asked if the Plaintiff was involved in the construction, the Plaintiff responded “very much so.” Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff how often he visited, the Plaintiff responded “almost every day.” The Plaintiff volunteered that he is now prohibited to visit by the Defendant and on his instructions, and the Plaintiff is very much hurt about it. Mr. Chagla asked whether there was a single instance where the Plaintiff was prevented from visiting, the Plaintiff responded that his sons visited a few months ago and were beaten and pushed, along with some bleeding. The Plaintiff said that his security has advised him not to visit, since the people on the other side were in that state of mind. Mr. Chagla put it to the Plaintiff that his statement that he was prevented from visiting the Raudat Tahera is incorrect. The Plaintiff did not agree and stood by his statement.

Mr. Chagla asked whether the appointment of the Plaintiff as Mazoon was done in a public sermon. The Plaintiff said yes.

Mr. Chagla asked what is the significance of the word “Maula”. The Plaintiff responded that, this [word] has a very deep significance and historical context. When the Prophet appointed Ali as his successor in Ghadir-E-Khum, he said in his sermon “whosoever the Prophet is the maula of, Ali is the maula after me.” Then Mr. Chagla asked if the term “Maula is only used for Dai in the community, the Plaintiff responded that “As the Prophet said, “maula” is used for the Imam and for the Dai.”

Mr. Chagla asked whether the Plaintiff was appointed as a Mazoon in private or public, the Plaintiff responded that he was appointed in the sermon in public. Prior to that, Syedna called him to his room and informed him that he would appoint him in the misaq majlis. Mr. Chagla asked what was the significance of the Plaintiff being referred to as “Moula” by members of the community. The Plaintiff replied that the reason he was addressed as a maula was because the Syedna had appointed him as the mazoon. He also pronounced nass on the Plaintiff. He gave the Plaintiff his ring, which the Plaintiff wears to this day. He said that Syedna Taher Saifuddin used to wear this very ring. It was because he named the Plaintiff as his successor that the Plaintiff was referred to as maula. When he appointed the Plaintiff as mazoon he conveyed in his words and blessings that the Plaintiff was to be his successor.

Mr. Chagla asked why the Plaintiff was referred to as “Moula” before 1965, and the Plaintiff said yes, because the 51st Dai viewed him as a successor.

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit 29th & 31st July 2015

The cross-examination of the Plaintiff (Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin TUS) in the Suit filed by him in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court resumed on the 29th of July 2015 at 12 PM and continued on the 31st of July 2015 in the historic Courtroom No. 46, presided by Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel.

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

Over four sessions and 7 and ½ hours of cross-examination the Plaintiff was asked over 100 questions. More details will be posted next week inshaallah.

The cross-examination will continue on the 3rd and 4th of August.

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit 27th & 28th April 2015

The cross-examination of the Plaintiff (Syedna Khuzaima QutbuddinTUS) in the Suit filed by him in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court began on the 27th of April 2015 at 3 PM in the historic Courtroom No. 46, presided by Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel. The Plaintiff took the oath and before his cross-examination commenced he prayed Bismillah.

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

Over three sessions and 5 and ½ hours of cross-examination the Plaintiff was asked several questions. Some of them were:

Mr Chagla asked: Why was the Nass conferred on 10th December 1965 secret and unwitnessed. The Plaintiff replied that it was the decision of Syedna (Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA) to keep it secret and that he, the Plaintiff, was the witness.

Further Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff why he was asked to keep the Nass in confidence and not disclose it. He answered that it was not for him to guess why Syedna asked this of him. Syedna instructed him to keep it confidential, and he obeyed him.

Mr. Chagla asked on what basis did the Plaintiff form the conjecture that there was danger to his life if the Nass was publicly announced, as he had stated in the Plaint para 29. The Plaintiff responded that Syedna (52nd Dai) had told his uncle (Mukasir Saheb Saleh Bhaisaheb Saifiyuddin) when asked why the nass was not made public, that if he (the 52nd Dai) would have done so then “talwaro chali jati”

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff that other than Mukasir Saheb, who were the other people the Plaintiff was referring to in paragraph 28(i-1) of the plaint last sentence (This shows that certain key people, including the then Mukasir Syedi Saleh bhaisaheb knew about the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq’s nass on the Plaintiff and it explains why His Holiness did not declare the nass in an open manner, realising the intrigue and possible violence that may follow from disgruntled older brothers of the Plaintiff). The Plaintiff responded that the persons he was referring to included Busab Amatullah Aaisaheba (wife of 52nd Dai) and others.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff whether he believed that even the Defendant knew that the Plaintiff was to be the successor of the 52nd Dai, referring to paragragh 31 sub-paragraph (a) of the evidence affidavit dated 13th March 2015. The Plaintiff replied that he thought so.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff whether according to the Plaintiff it was correct that there was no secret about the alleged nass conferred on him. The Plaintiff replied that it was possible because of the favours showered on the Plaintiff by the 52nd Dai.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff when he felt that Yusuf bhaisab Najmuddin felt “slighted and jealous” by the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff replied it was approximately the year 1381 or 1382 A.H. (1961 or 1962). He then asked the Plaintiff when he felt Yusuf bhaisab, the Defendant and his brothers had started allegedly scheming against the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff replied that Yusuf Bhaisaheb Najmuddin personally told him that he was “very jealous” of him in 1381 A.H. (1961 – 1962) because the Plaintiff had attained such a high position at so young an age. The Plaintiff further said that therefore, according to him, Yusuf Bhaisaheb’s scheming against the Plaintiff was from that time. He added that during the time of the 52nd Dai after a few years of his reign Yusuf Bhaisab had influenced the family of the 52nd Dai also including the Defendant and his brothers, and that the Defendant was the son-in-law of Yusuf bhaisaheb Najmuddin.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff to name the brothers and supporters of the Defendant who were party to the scheming. The Plaintiff replied that apart from the Defendant, his elder brother Qaid Johar, Malik-ul Ashtar and Idris and the sons and daughters of Yusuf Bhaisaheb. Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff to name the sons and daughters of Yusuf Bhaisaheb who according to the Plaintiff were involved in the scheming. The Plaintiff replied that the sons were Badrul Jamali, Qausar Ali, Saeedul Khair and the daughters were Jauharatush Sharaf and Maria.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff to name the brothers of Yusuf Bhaisab Najmuddin who according to him were part of this alleged scheme. The Plaintiff replied that they were Ali Asghar Bhaisaheb Kalimuddin and Qasim Bhaisaheb Hakimuddin.

Mr Chagla then asked what was the purpose or object of this scheme against the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff replied that it was to malign him.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff what were the functions and duties of a Mazoon. The Plaintiff replied that there were several functions and duties of a Mazoon. In rank, he is next in line to the Dai al-Mutlaq. One of the main duties is the practice of the religion. He (the Mazoon) is the first one required to follow the guidance provided by the Dai al-Mutlaq. The Plaintiff said that in the doctrine, it is said that the Dai and the Mazoon together guide the community. It is also said that Dai and Mazoon are the fountains of spiritual knowledge for the community. The ranks of the Dai and Mazoon are called “Rutba”. These are the only two who are referred to in this manner. Both of them are the ones who spread spiritual knowledge. They are the ones who have the right to decide what spiritual knowledge is to be disseminated and from what text. They are the two persons who give knowledge to Muallimeen and Mutallimeen, (teachers and students). In the same manner, the Dai and Mazoon are in position to give knowledge to Mufideen (Professors and Teachers), as also to the Mustafideen (students) who are seeking higher religious and spiritual knowledge.

Mr. Chagla asked the Plaintiff if it was correct according to the Plaintiff that the veracity of the Mazoon was beyond doubt. The Plaintiff replied “yes”.

The Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel has kept the matter for directions on June 15, 2015 and then the further schedule for further cross-examination will be decided.

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit Update 2: 18th March 2015

The Hon’ble Bombay High Court has asked that both parties issue a statement asking the community to maintain calm during the proceeding of the trial. Mumineen are hereby requested to maintain calm during the proceeding of the trial.

The Hon’ble Court has also limited the number of people who can attend from each side to 25. A list of names of those persons who will attend the hearings must be supplied by each side to the High Court security staff at least 48 hours in advance, and those attending must carry appropriate photo identification with them. The security staff of the High Court will make arrangements to issue the necessary passes to these visitors. The High Court has made special amplification and audio visual arrangements for the testimony and cross examination of Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin TUS that is to take place on the 27th and 28th of April in a specially assigned courtroom.

Click here to view PDF of Hon’ble Court Order

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit Update: 18th March 2015

The Hon’ble Bombay High Court has fixed the dates of 27th and 28th April for cross examination of the Plaintiff’s witnesses, and  Syedna Qutbuddin TUS will appear in court on those days for his testimony and cross examination.

Further details of the hearing and the Court Order will be published on Fatemidawatlegal.com once the Honorable Court’s order is released on Monday, March 23rd.

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit Update: 19th January 2015

The Hon’ble Justice G. S. Patel has listed the suit for marking documents and cross-examination (trial stage) of the Plaintiff’s witnesses for three consecutive days from the 18th till the 20th of March from 12 noon onwards.

The Hon’ble Court has directed that the revised affidavits of documents and Statements of Admission and Denial of documents are to be completed and exchanged by 9th February, 2015 and the plaintiffs evidence affidavits will be filed by 4th of March, 2015.

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit Update: 23rd December 2014

Since most of the documents submitted by the Parties are in Arabic or Lisan ud Dawat (language of the Dawoodi Bohra community), and there are concerns about the translations done by each side for the documents relied upon by the other side, the Parties have requested the Hon’ble Court for some time to try and resolve the differences in translation into English language.

The Hon’ble High Court has kept the matter on the 20th of January 2015 to complete the admission and denial of documents, including the translations.

 

Bombay High Court Declaratory Suit Update: 10th November 2014

The Hon’ble Justice R. D. Dhanuka has directed that the Affidavit of Documents alongwith the compilation to be submitted within a week by both parties simultaneously and the Statement of Admission and Denial of documents has to be filed within 10 days of service of Affidavit of Documents along with compilation and shall be exchanged simultaneously. The Hon’ble Court has placed the matter on the 11th of December, 2014 for deciding the admissibility of the documents.

Click here to view PDF of the Honorable Court Order.