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A plea against the move by the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid to anoint his son the Naib Imam Nov 22 was filed in the Delhi High Court Tuesday.

The PIL (public interest litigation) filed by one Suhail Ahmed Khan said that Jama Masjid is a property of the Delhi Wakf Board and Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari (Shahi Imam) as its employee can’t appoint his son as Naib Imam.

Bukhari’s decision to anoint his 19-year-old son, Shaban Bukhari, as the Naib Imam or the “Deputy Imam”, is wrong as there is no provision under the Wakf Act for hereditary appointment of the Imam of a mosque, it said.

“Despite knowing that Imam is an employee of the Wakf Board and its the Board which has the right to appoint an Imam, he (Bukhari) has declared his 19-year-old son to be a Naib Imam and is holding a dastar bandi ceremony for the said purpose, which is purely anti-Islamic,” the plea said.

Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque built during the Mughal era in the 17th century, facing the Red Fort.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw would hear the plea Wednesday.

It also asked the court to declare invalid the appointment of Bukhari as the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid.

The plea filed against the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Delhi government, Delhi Wakf Board (DWB), MCD, DDA, city police and Bukhari also alleged that there is “complete anarchy and misuse of power” by the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid.

Alleging illegal construction within the Masjid premises the plea sought a CBI probe into the accounts, affairs, misuse of premises of Jama Masjid and the area in the vicinity by the Shahi Imam.

It also sought directions for DWB to take over the affairs of Jama Masjid and appoint an Imam. The plea also asked the ASI and the government to declare Jama Masjid a protected monument. Bukhari had recently sparked off a controversy by announcing that he had invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the ceremony but did not feel the need to invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


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