"The issue of succession to the 52nd spiritual leader, the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, has been a matter of dispute between his half-brother and his son."
Ahmedabad/Mumbai, April 16 - The Gujarat High Court Wednesday granted an interim injunction restraining Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, and his supporters from dealing with the assets of around 75 public trusts and 261 Wakfs till April 25, an official said here.
The injunction was granted by Justice A.J. Desai in eight writ petitions filed by the self-proclaimed 53rd Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin, brother of the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin who passed away Jan 17.
The 52nd Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin's son Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin took over as the 53rd Syedna, while his uncle Mazoon-E-Dawat Khuzaima Qutbuddin also proclaimed himself as the 53rd Syedna - throwing the 1.2 million Dawoodi Bohra community in turmoil.
Asked for a reaction to the development, a spokesperson of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin in Mumbai declined to comment.
In the eight writ petitions, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin said principles of natural justice have been violated by several authorities in Gujarat by passing orders entering the name of his nephew Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as 'Sole Trustee' in numerous trusts and Wakf properties.
The petitioner contended that there was large scale violation of the principles of natural justice on the part of several assistant charity commissioners and the Gujarat Wakf Board, who have, without giving a hearing and without issuing notices to him, passed orders permitting Shehzada Mufaddal Saifuddin's name to be entered as sole trustee of numerous public trusts believed to be exceeding 75 and wakfs exceeding 250 in number.
The petitioner said the Gujarat Wakf Board passed an order entering Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin's name Jan 23, within two days of the application.
A day after the Gujarat Wakf Board's order, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin's son-in-law Abdul Qadir Nooruddin signed more than 150 change reports filed in various assistant charity commissioners' offices in 20 districts of the neighbouring state, 10 days after the demise of the 52nd Syedna.
In some districts, the assistant charity commissioner passed orders within two days and in others within a fortnight, according to the petition.
Some of the districts where the assistant charity commissioners' orders have been passed in haste include Mehsana, Patan, Amreli, Jamnagar, Gandhinagar, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Rajkot, Dahod, Godhra and Valsad, the petition said.
The petitioner urged the Gujarat High Court to examine these violations of principles of natural justice and hasty passing of orders without following due process of law, without inquiry or without assigning any reasons by the concerned authorities.
Late last month, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin had moved the Bombay High Court seeking court intervention to declare him the 53rd Syedna and restraining his nephew, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, from continuing in the spiritual post.
The suit is expected to come up for next hearing April 29 in the Bombay High Court.
The issue of succession to the 52nd spiritual leader, the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, has been a matter of dispute between his half-brother and his son.
Syedna Khuzema Qutbuddin has contended that all efforts by him to resolve the matter amicably and internally have failed in the wake of several false and contradictory claims made by his nephew, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, on the issue of succession.