Dawoodi Bohra Succession Suit Rejected By Bombay High Court 

Dawoodi Bohra Succession Suit Rejected By Bombay High Court

Dawoodi Bohra Succession Suit Rejected By Bombay High Court

Share This News

The Bombay High Court confirmed Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra Community.

Mumbai: In a significant legal verdict, the Bombay High Court has confirmed Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as the legitimate 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq, dismissing a claim by his nephew, Taher Fakhruddin. This decision resolves a contentious leadership dispute within the Dawoodi Bohra Community, which boasts a following of 1.5 million worldwide.

The ruling delivered on Tuesday by Justice GS Patel marked the conclusion of a legal battle that began in March 2014. The original suit was filed by Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin, who asserted that he was the rightful successor as designated by the 52nd Dai, Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin, through a declaration known as “nass” back in December 1965.

Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin, however, passed away in 2016 amidst the trial, after which his son, Taher Fakhruddin, continued the legal challenge, claiming rights to both leadership and control over community properties. These properties include the significant Saify Mahal on AG Bell Road, the official office and residence of the Dai al-Mutlaq.

The dispute intensified after the death of the 52nd Dai in January 2014, when Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin was declared his successor. Syedna Mufaddal defended his position, citing a public announcement of his succession made in Mumbai shortly after a private declaration by his father in a London hospital in 2011.

Justice Patel’s judgment not only reaffirms Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s leadership but also addresses the community’s right to follow a leader who has been publicly recognized and accepted. The decision is expected to bring an end to the instability that has marred the community since the succession dispute arose.

The verdict ensures that Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin will continue to administer the community’s extensive assets and spiritual guidance without further dispute. It represents a closure to a chapter of contention, paving the way for unity and continued spiritual guidance for the Dawoodi Bohra followers worldwide.

The Dawoodi Bohra community issued a press statement over the judgement.

It stated, “The Dawoodi Bohra community is most gratified by the passing of this landmark judgement by His Lordship, Mr Justice G.S Patel of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court in what is a historic and defining moment for the community. The judgement, which after having carefully considered the evidence led and the elaborate arguments advanced by both the parties, has conclusively held that the 52nd al-Dai al-Mutlaq His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had appointed his son, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor and the 53rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra community.”

It further said, “The rather unfortunate challenge to Syedna Saifuddin’s appointment and the various falsehoods that it was based on has been conclusively dealt with in the said judgement and the claims of Khuzema Qutbuddin, the Original Plaintiff and his son Taher Qutbuddin, the current Plaintiff, have been comprehensively rejected. The judgement has firmly dealt with and dismissed the misinterpretation and misleading portrayal by the Plaintiffs of the facts and the religious doctrines of the Dawoodi Bohra faith. We have always believed and have had full faith and conviction in the Indian judiciary, which has time and again affirmed the position of the Syedna and the Dawoodi Bohra community’s age-old beliefs, customs, practices and doctrines. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank His Lordship, Justice Gautam Patel of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court for devoting as much time as he did over the past ten years in patiently hearing and deciding this complex matter. We also wish to thank all our Counsels most admirably led by Senior Counsel Iqbal Chagla, along with Senior Counsel Fredun De Vitre, Senior Counsel Janak Dwarkadas, Senior Counsel
Pankaj Savant, Senior Counsel and now His Lordship Justice Firdosh Pooniwala, and Counsels Azmin Irani, Ammar A Faizullabhoy, Shahen Pradhan, Jehaan Mehta and Chirag Kamdar.”

The community in its press statement also shared, “We also extend our gratitude and thanks to all our Solicitors and Advocates led by the late Mr Ebrahim AK Faizullabhoy along with the team from Argus Partners, comprising of Senior Partner Mr Abeezar Ebrahim Faizullabhoy, Mr Murtaza Kachwalla, Partner, and Ms Jaisha Sabavala, Senior Associate, along with other advocates from Argus Partners and other law firms who have attended to this matter on our behalf from time to time.
Lastly, we would also like to thank all the witnesses who gave evidence in the matter on behalf of His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, whose evidence formed the basis of getting the favourable judgement.”