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Bombay HC Upholds Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin's Leadership Position in Dawoodi Bohra Community

Bombay HC Upholds Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin's Leadership Position in Dawoodi Bohra Community

The Bombay High Court's decision on Tuesday upheld the position and appointment of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra Community, dismissing a suit filed in 2014 challenging his authority.

Justice Gautam Patel, in a ruling on the case, clarified that the court's decision pertained solely to the issue of proof and not faith. The suit, initially brought forward by Khuzaima Qutbuddin following the passing of his brother and the then Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin in January 2014 at the age of 102, was dismissed accordingly.

Following the passing of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, his second son, Mufaddal Saifuddin, assumed the position of Syedna.

In 2016, following Qutbuddin's passing, his son Taher Fakhruddin continued the legal proceedings, asserting that his father had bestowed upon him the authority to pursue the suit.

The suit aimed to petition the court to prohibit Saifuddin from carrying out his responsibilities as Syedna. Qutbuddin asserted in his suit that his brother Burhanuddin designated him as the mazoon (second in command) and privately designated him as his successor through a clandestine "nass" (act of conferring succession) before the public announcement of his role as mazoon on December 10, 1965.

Fakhruddin contended that his father, before his passing, personally conferred upon him and appointed him to the position in question.

Justice Patel, in his dismissal of the suit, emphasized his aim to avoid any disturbances, stating, "I don't want any upheavals." He underscored the neutrality of his judgment, clarifying, "I have kept the judgment as neutral as possible." Furthermore, he reiterated that his decision was solely based on the issue of proof and not on matters of faith. It's worth noting that the Dawoodi Bohras constitute a religious denomination within the Shia Muslim community.

Traditionally known for its affiliation with trade and entrepreneurship, the Dawoodi Bohra community boasts over 500,000 members in India and surpasses 1 million worldwide.

The suit had sought the HC to restrain Saifuddin from acting as the Dai-al-Mutlaq.

It also sought an 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 asserted that following Syedna Taher Saifuddin's succession to the position of Dai-al-Mutlaq in 1965, he publicly designated his half-brother as the mazoon (second in command) and privately conferred upon him the succession through a secret nass.(designation).

Qutbuddin claimed that Burhanuddin instructed him to maintain secrecy regarding the private nass. He asserted that he honored the oath of secrecy bestowed upon him by the 52nd Dai until his demise.

Syedna Saifuddin opposed the suit, claiming the nass of 1965 lacked witnesses and could not be accepted.

He claimed that as per the established and prevalent doctrines of the Dawoodi Bohra faith, nass could be changed and revoked.

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