Plea claiming wrong historical facts on Taj Mahal: HC asks ASI to decide representation

The Delhi High Court Friday asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take a call on a representation seeking removal of allegedly factually wrong information about the construction of the Taj Mahal from history books and ascertaining the age of the monument.
Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court Friday asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take a call on a representation seeking removal of allegedly factually wrong information about the construction of the Taj Mahal from history books and ascertaining the age of the monument.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Tushar Rao Gedela disposed of the public interest litigation (PIL) which claimed Mughal emperor Shah Jahan did not construct the Taj Mahal and only carried out renovation of the palace of Raja Man Singh.

The high court noted that the petitioner had earlier filed a plea with similar prayers before the Supreme Court, which had allowed him to withdraw it after he proposed to give a representation to the ASI.

The apex court had in December 2022 refused to entertain the plea, saying PILs were not meant for seeking a "fishing enquiry" and courts were not there to reopen history.

On Friday, petitioner Surjit Singh Yadav's counsel told the high court that he gave a representation to the ASI in January this year but has not received any response yet.

The high court then asked the ASI to look into his claim and take a decision on his representation.

Yadav, the president of NGO Hindu Sena, has claimed in his PIL that "wrong historical facts" are being taught and shown to the public about the construction of the Taj Mahal.

The plea sought direction to the authorities to remove allegedly factually wrong information on the construction of the Taj Mahal by Shah Jahan from history books and textbooks referred to in schools, colleges, universities and other institutions. It also sought direction to the ASI to carry out a probe to ascertain the age of the monument.

The petitioner contended his research showed that a magnificent mansion already existed at the site where the mortal remains of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal were placed under a dome-like structure.

"It is extremely strange why all the court chroniclers of Shah Jahan have not mentioned the name of the architect of this magnificent mausoleum. Therefore, this quite clearly indicates that the mansion of Raja Man Singh was not demolished but only modified and renovated to create the current look of the Taj Mahal. That is why there is no mention of any architect in the accounts of the court chroniclers of Shah Jahan," the plea submitted.

Raja Man Singh was a general of Mughal emperor Akbar, the grandfather of Shah Jahan.

The 17th century monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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