NEW DELHI: The Taj Mahal is owned by the Almighty but it must be listed as the Sunni Waqf Board’s property for practical purposes, the board told the Supreme Court on Tuesday. But it clarified that it would not stake claim to ownership of the Taj.
Last week, the court had asked the board to back up its claim on the Taj by producing ownership documents signed by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who had commissioned the 17th century monument.
The board on Tuesday told the court it had no signed documents from Shah Jahan’s descendants. No human could claim ownership to the Taj, it added.
However, it urged the Archaeological Survey of India to consider whether the Taj could be registered as its property for ease of maintenance.
The case went to the Supreme Court in 2010 after the Archaeological Survey of India filed a plea following the board’s decision claiming the Taj as its property.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the board’s assurance that it was not staking claim to the property would not help as the case was already being heard. The next hearing is on July 27.
The ASI claims that if the board is given ownership of the Taj, it would set a precedent for Mughal-era monuments like the Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.