New Delhi: Petitioners in the case against Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari have asked the Delhi High Court to abolish the term 'Shahi', adding that in a democratic country, the phrase has no significance.
"We have placed a plea in the honourable high court against Imam Bukhari on several counts. First, the word 'Shahi' cannot be used in the Union of India because our country is a democracy. Thus we have pleaded that the word 'Shahi' be abolished," Ajay Gautam, one of the petitioners in the case, told ANI.
Bukhari's decision to appoint his son Shaban Bukhari as his successor has been challenged in the high court, with the petitioners seeking the immediate removal of both functionaries from India's largest mosque.
"We stated that Imam Bukhari's appointment of his son as his successor is illegal as only the Delhi Waqf Board has that authority. By a decree of the Supreme Court, the Imam is the employee of the Waqf board and only the board has the right to appoint an Imam. It is illegal for an employee to transfer his employment," Guatam said.
"Further, the Jama Masjid is the wealth of the entire nation and having a hereditary Imam is not permitted by the Indian Constitution," he added.
Gautam further confirmed that the High Court, taking cognizance of the petition, stated that the ceremony to appoint Shaban Bukhari will have no legal standing.
"The high court has stated that the dastarbandi of the Imam is a private function only and will have no legal standing whatsoever," he said.
Last month, Imam Bukhari had courted controversy after he named his 19-year-old son Shaban as his successor and sent out an invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but refrained from inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the same.