Taj owned by Almighty, no human can claim it: Waqf board to SC

New Delhi: The Sunni Waqf Board on Monday told Supreme Court that Taj Mahal built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is owned by the Almighty but should be listed as property of Waqf board for practical purposes.

The apex court has been hearing an eight-year-old appeal filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 2010. The ASI has been contesting in the court against Wakf Board’s order claiming Taj Mahal as its property. According to the board, Shah Jahan had declared the monument a wakf property.

The religious body was asked last week to produce the documentation signed by 17th-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to support their claim. The board told the court today that it has no such signed documents from the descendants of Shah Jahan.

“No human can claim ownership of the marble monument,” the board said. “But it is Wakf Board property because it is allowed to perform rituals,” said its lawyer.

The Sunni Waqf Board further said: “A part of Fatehpur Sikri – the fort near Agra built by emperor Akbar – is registered as Wakf property, where the mosque exists, and the adjourning area is maintained by the ASI.”

The religious body also asked ASI to consider whether the iconic monument can be registered as its property, only for maintenance. However, the ASI said the signing off of Taj Mahal would create problems and initiate similar claims for other monuments such as Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

The next hearing in the case will be held on July 27.