SC quashes PIL seeking inquiry into history of Taj Mahal, opening of 22 rooms

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Terming it “publicity interest litigation,” the Supreme Court on Friday quashed a plea seeking a “fact-finding inquiry” into the history of the Taj Mahal and the “opening of 22 rooms” on the premises of the monuments.

The top court’s bench comprising of Justices MR Shah and MM Sundresh decided to uphold the order of the Allahabad High Court which had earlier dismissed the plea.

“The high court was not in error in dismissing the petition, which is more of a publicity interest litigation. Dismissed,” the bench stated.

Earlier on May 12, the high court ruled that the petitioner Rajneesh Singh, the media coordinator for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Ayodhya unit, had failed to specify which of his legal or constitutional rights were being violated.

Additionally, the court also reprimanded the petitioner’s attorney for filing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in a “casual” way and stated that it was unable to issue an order, in this case, pursuant to Article 226 of the Constitution. In order to enforce fundamental rights, the article gives a high court the competence to issue orders or writs to any individual or organisation within its sphere of jurisdiction.

It is to be noted that several right-wing Hindu organisations had previously claimed that the monument from the Mughal Empire was a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Archaeological Survey of India is in charge of protecting the monument (ASI).

The petition had also sought to abolish several provisions of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951 and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, under which the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Itimad-ud-Daulah’s tomb and the Agra Fort were designated as historical monuments. (PTI)

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