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This is the official website of His Holiness Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb’s TUS Legal Office with updates regarding the Suit filed in the Honourable Bombay High Court by His Holiness Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb RA against Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin after the sad passing of His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb RA in 2014.

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Final Arguments Completed, Verdict Eagerly Awaited in the Dawoodi Bohra Succession Suit, heard before the Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel, Bombay High Court

Mumbai, 6th April 2023: On 5th April 2023 the final arguments in the historic Dawoodi Bohra Succession Suit concluded in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court before the Hon’ble Justice Gautam Patel.

This marked the penultimate milestone in the Suit, originally filed by His Holiness Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb in 2014 against the Defendant for truth, justice, and the future of the Dawoodi Bohra Community. It is important to note that the Suit was filed after Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb’s calls to a public debate were ignored by the Defendant, Mufaddal Saifuddin. The Judgement in the Suit is awaited.

Syedi Mazoon Saheb Abdeali Bhaisaheb Saifuddin, currently second in the community hierarchy and son of Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb expressed in a statement to the media today that reaching this milestone “is a step closer to the culmination of my father’s vision and intention to bring the truth out to the community”.

In June 2014, the Hon’ble Justice Patel expedited the suit. The Hon’ble Justice Patel was assigned the hearing of the Suit by the Hon’ble Chief Justices of the Bombay High Court, until its completion.

The cross-examination of Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb commenced in April 2015 in the historic central Court Room number 46 of the Bombay High Court. This was the same courtroom where Lokmanya Tilak was tried by the British in 1908. Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb answered more than 500 questions in cross examination.

Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb sadly passed away in March 2016, after appointing his son and successor His Holiness Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb as the 54th Dai al-Mutlaq. On the Application of Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb, he was substituted as the Plaintiff in the Suit by an Order passed by the Hon’ble Justice Patel in Chamber Summons No. 1290 of 2016.

The Suit is for a declaration that Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb was the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq, and Syedna Taher Fakhruddin is the 54th Dai al-Mutlaq, and for consequential reliefs.

In December 2017, the cross-examination of Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb began, and concluded in January 2019, lasting over 27 days with over 1500 questions asked by the Defendant’s counsel.

Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb then led the evidence of two more witnesses, and closed his evidence in February 2020.

Between the Plaintiff’s four witnesses, including both Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb and Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb, cross-examination was held over approximately 50 days, spanning close to 250 hours with over 3000 questions being asked.

The Defendant, Mufaddal Saifuddin, chose not to give his evidence and subject himself to cross-examination, but he led the evidence of thirteen witnesses before the Hon’ble Court on various aspects of his case. Most importantly, the Defendant filed his defence before the Hon’ble High Court, including pleading a case that he had been appointed as successor by the 52nd Dai on four different occasions, but chose to not give his evidence before the Hon’ble High Court and swear on oath to his beliefs, and state of mind that he was validly appointed as successor by the 52nd Dai in accordance with the doctrine and tenets of the Dawoodi Bohra faith, and that he had become the 53rd Dai. The Plaintiffs have contended that his not giving his own evidence regarding his belief, and state of mind, as per law, ought to result in an adverse inference against the Defendant.

The Defendant’s first two witnesses were two doctors who treated the 52nd Dai in hospital in London in June 2011 when he suffered a stroke at age 97. They were cross-examined while in London, United Kingdom, using videoconferencing technology. This was the first time in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court of cross-examination in a Suit being conducted in this way. The last ten witnesses were cross-examined before the Court Commissioner, Mr. Salil Shah. Cross-examination of the Defendant’s thirteen witnesses commenced in February 2021 and concluded in August 2022.

The Hon’ble Justice Patel especially set aside 4 weeks to hear the final arguments, which commenced on 28th November 2022. Recognizing the importance of this suit for the future of the Dawoodi Bohra Community and as a landmark case, the Hon’ble Justice Patel allowed both parties to continue arguments from January 2023 until 5th April 2023. The Hon’ble Justice Patel held these hearings after Court hours after his regular Division Bench assignment. The Plaintiff’s Counsel, Mr. Anand Desai, Managing Partner of DSK Legal said that “the amount of time that the Hon’ble Justice Patel has given to this matter is remarkable”.

The final arguments lasted 46 days and more than 150 hours of arguments were heard by the Hon’ble Justice Patel.

Syedi Mazoon Saheb gave a statement on Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb’s behalf “I would like to express the deepest gratitude to the Hon’ble High Court on behalf of the Plaintiff His Holiness Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb, for recognising the enormity of this matter and dedicating so much time and effort toward resolving it”.

Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb has stated that he wishes for the community to be reunited as one family, and he will welcome all with open arms and an open heart. He is continuing to build the community through love and understanding. Syedi Mazoon Saheb recalled that “it was Syedna Qutbuddin Saheb’s endeavour and so too of Syedna Fakhruddin Saheb today, that he is able to unite the community once again under the banner of truth and provide the right guidance”.

Syedna Fakhruddin’s vision is for an open, inclusive, educated, giving and interconnected community. He stresses the Prophet Muhammad’s PBUH guiding ethos that all of mankind are children of God, and that those who benefit God’s children are the most loved by him.

Mr. Desai noted that “the Court decides cases based on the evidence, and the law under the Evidence Act prevails. The evidence led by both sides will be assessed by the Hon’ble Court while deciding whether the case of each of the parties is proved”. The Hon’ble Justice Patel will be passing Judgement in due course. This dispute has affected a million-strong community in India, and beyond – who are eagerly awaiting justice to be served.