The Bombay High Court on Wednesday reserved verdict in the suit challenging Syedna Muffadal Saifuddin's position as the Dai al Mutlaq or spiritual head of Dawoodi Bohra community.
Justice Gautam Patel concluded the trial in the suit which was filed by 2014. The final hearing in the suit began last November. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin, the 52nd Dia al Mutlaq, passed away in 2014 and his son, Mufaddal Saifuddin, succeeded him.
Syedna's half brother challenged succession in Bombay HC
Late Syedna's half-brother, Khuzaima Qutbuddin, challenged succession of Muffaddal Saifuddin as the successor in the Bombay HC. He sought declaration that he was the leader of the community based on a secret nass (conferment of succession) by the deceased leader on December 10, 1965. He claimed that the late Syedna had asked him to keep the private nass a secret. He claimed that he had abided by the oath of secrecy given to him by the 52nd Dai till his death.
Qutbuddin also sought entry to Saifi Manzil, the house of the Syedna in Mumbai, alleging that Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin had taken over the leadership role in a “fraudulent manner".
Qutbuddin died in 2016 in the USA. Since then, his son, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin is the plaintiff and is now seeking that he be declared the leader by the HC. Fakhruddin has claimed his father conferred the nass upon him and thus he should be declared the Dai.
Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin opposed the suit claiming that the nass of 1965 lacked witnesses and could not be accepted. He further contended that as per established and prevalent doctrines of the Dawoodi Bohra faith, nass could be changed and revoked.
Doctrinal belief of community
He further contended that the 52nd Dai had conferred nass on Syedna Saifuddin in the presence of witnesses at the Bupa Cromwell hospital in London, where he was admitted after suffering a stroke. Thirteen witnesses deposed on his behalf.
Even if nass had been conferred on Qutubbin in 1965, as per the doctrinal belief of the community, only the last nass would be valid.