India: The Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dismissed the petition seeking opening of 22 rooms in the Taj Mahal premises.
The two-judge bench ripped into the petitioner who sought opening of the 22 locked rooms, stating that the truth about the iconic monument needs to come out, and that he has filed multiple PILs for the same.
“Tomorrow you will ask for permission to see our chambers. Please, don’t make mockery of the PIL system,” the bench said during the hearing.
The writ petition, seeking to “find the truth” behind the 22 locked rooms in the Taj Mahal, was filed last week before the Lucknow bench by Rajneesh Singh, who is the media in-charge of the BJP’s Ayodhya unit.
The petition cited the claims of some historians and Hindu groups about the mausoleum actually being an old Shiva temple. The petition has sought the Archaeological Survey of India form a special committee to examine the locked rooms and release the report to the public.
Singh said that the demand is not to make the Taj Mahal a temple but to bring out the truth of the matter for the sake of social harmony. He said that the only way to end such controversy is by examining closed rooms.
Justices D.K. Upadhyay and Subhash Vidyarthi questioned the petitioner on what his plea is. Pointing out that the petitioner wants the court to issue a writ of mandamus, they stated it can only be issued in case of infringement of rights.
“What judgment do you want us to pronounce? Who built the Taj Mahal? Don’t go into historical facts… Mandamus can only be issued when rights have been infringed. What rights of yours have been infringed?” the bench asked.
The petitioner said he is asking for a fact-finding committee to be constituted to get to the bottom of the issue and reiterated his demand to be allowed access to the 22 rooms as the “truth” needs to emerge about the Taj Mahal. Citizens need to know why multiple rooms in the monument are said to be locked due to “security reasons”, he said.
The bench responded sharply, saying: “Who are you asking the information from? If you are not satisfied that the rooms have been closed for security reasons, use your remedies in law to challenge that. Do some research first — do MA, Ph.D, enroll yourself somewhere. Don’t make a mockery of this.”
Several right-wing organisations claim Taj Mahal to be Tejo Mahalaya, a Hindu temple.