Syed Ahmed Bukhari claimed that the emperor had said that the Imamat of the Jama Masjid will continue in the family of the first Imam only.
"Shahi Imam is a title which was given to the first Imam of Jama Masjid (Hazrat Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, Shahi Imam) by the emperor Shahjahan and he also stated that the Imamat of the said Jama Masjid will continue in his family only," he said.
"As this is a custom and tradition and not in conflict with any law from centuries, so no one should be restrained from using the title/honor of Shahi Imam for the Imam of Jama Masjid," he said in an affidavit filed before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar.
The court was hearing three PILs challenging the Shahi Imam's decision to appoint his son as the Naib Imam, which would make him his successor.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari, who is the 13th Imam in the line of descent, was responding to the PILs filed by Suhail Ahmed Khan, Ajay Gautam and advocate V K Anand in which they had said Jama Masjid was a property of Delhi Waqf Board and Mr Bukhari as its employee cannot appoint his son as Naib Imam (deputy Imam).
However, Mr Bukhari claimed that "Jama Masjid is not a property of Waqf Board, it is a waqf property whose ownership vests in Allah," and added that neither he nor his predecessor Shahi Imams were employees of Delhi Waqf Board.
He claimed that the petitions were motivated not by public interest but by personal dislike and vendetta and they contained false and baseless allegations.
He said Imamat is an inherited title and the eldest son of the Imam succeeds his father.
The court had made the observation after taking into account the contentions of the Centre, Delhi Wakf Board and petitioners, who have challenged the ceremony, adding that in such a situation there is no need to stay the function.
The court had also did not restrain Bukhari from holding the ceremony at Jama Masjid, as sought by the petitioners, saying he and his family have been using the same as their residence for the last several years.
It had sought response of the Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi government, DDA, MCD, city police, Wakf Board, CBI as well as Bukhari on the pleas.
Earlier, the Centre had said that the Mughal-era mosque Jama Masjid is a Wakf property and it has to decide how the rule of primogeniture applies on anointment of new Shahi Imam, which has come under challenge.
ASI had also requested the court to declare the city's Jama Masjid as an ancient monument because of its national importance while contending that it needs to be protected.
The PILs had asked the court to declare as invalid the appointment of Bukhari as the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid and had also sought directions for Delhi Wakf Board to take over the affairs of Jama Masjid and appoint a new Shahi Imam.
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