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HC junks plea to open Taj rooms pulls up petitioner over PIL

Lucknow: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad HC on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking a 'fact-finding inquiry' into the history of the Taj Mahal and the "opening of 22 rooms" on the monument's premises, saying the petitioner failed to point out which of his legal or constitutional rights were being infringed.
The bench of Justices DK Upadhyaya and Subhash Vidyarthi pulled up the lawyer of petitioner Rajneesh Singh for filing the PIL in a "casual" manner and said it cannot pass an order under Article 226  of the Constitution in the matter.
The article empowers a high court to issue to any person or authority in the area under its jurisdiction orders or writs to enforce the fundamental rights.
The petition also sought the setting aside of certain provisions of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act 1951.
Are we sitting in Article 226 to determine the age of Taj?
The petition also sought the setting aside of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, under which the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, and Itimad-ud-Daulah's tomb were declared historical monuments.
The bench was irked with the petitioner's counsel Rudra Pratap Singh that such a sensitive issue was brought before the court without conducting proper historical and legal research work.
As the petitioner's counsel tried to explain the history of the Taj as written by some historians about age and construction, the bench reacted by saying, "Are we sitting in Article 226 to determine the age of the Taj? We cannot pronounce a verdict on conflicting views based on different historical reasons," the court said.
The bench said that judges are not trained and equipped to deal with the issue. "The issue which can be taken up by the court should be justiciable of justiciability," it said.
Sensing that the bench was going to dismiss the PIL, petitioner's counsel Singh sought to withdraw the plea with permission of the court to file a fresh plea, but the bench did not yield.

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