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Judiciary

Supreme Court Rejects Plea to Repatriate Mortal Remains of Sufi Saint from Dhaka

By Jhanak Singh      06 April, 2024 01:40 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Rejects Plea to Repatriate Mortal Remains of Sufi Saint from Dhaka

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected plea for bringing back the mortal remains of Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Muhammad Abdul Muqtadir Shah Masood Ahmad, an Indian-born Pakistani national, who died in Dhaka in 2022.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said Ahmad obtained Pakistani citizenship in 1992 and he was buried in Dhaka.

"How can you expect the Union of India to rebury him in India," the bench asked the counsel.

Advocate Arundhati Katju, however, contended he had no family or followers in Pakistan, whereas the Dargah here, in Uttar Pradesh, he was the sajjada-nashin, an administrator or a caretaker of a religious place.

“As a matter of first principle, it would not be right for this court to direct the transportation of the mortal remains of a citizen of a foreign state in India,” the bench said.

The counsel, however, asked the court to consider the plea filed Dargah Hazrat Mulla Syed.

“If Bangladesh allows exhumation, the question today is whether the Union of India would permit the transportation of the body to India for the purpose of burial,” she asked.

"How can the court allow this, since he was a Pakistani national and that there is no legal right," the bench pointed out.

The counsel contended that her client had made representations to the Union government, but no reply has been received so far.

“There is no substance in it. How can anybody, who is not a citizen of India, either his family or followers, or group say that we want to bury him here," the bench asked.

The counsel said the grave in Bangladesh is not tended to, which was also a concern, besides, there are no followers.

“We understand the sentiment but we have to go by enforceable constitutional right,” the bench said.

The counsel said for the sajjada-nashin to be buried in the dargah is the customary right, which the dargah is enforcing.

She said that the deceased was elected as the 'sajjada-nashin' of the shrine Dargah Hazrat Mulla Syed Mohammad Shah in 2008 in Prayagraj and he executed his will in 2021 expressing a desire to be buried in the shrine.

He, however, got Pakistani citizenship in 1992.

The bench said there are difficulties in entertaining such a petition and he was a Pakistani citizen and he has no constitutional right that the practical difficulties related to exhumation.



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