The Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench dismissed public interest litigation (PIL) on Thursday that asked the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to 'open 22 sealed doors' of the Taj Mahal in Agra in order to resolve the "controversy" surrounding the monument's origins. While hearing Rajneesh Singh's PIL, a division bench of Justices Subhash Vidyarthi and Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya gave the order.
The court responded to the petitioner's request for an order to unlock locked doors and remove certain structures to promote the historical study, saying, "We may at this juncture itself indicate that any historical research conducted by the academicians will necessarily involve a particular methodology."
It further added, "Determination of the question as to which particular methodology of research would yield correct results lies outside the scope of our jurisdiction and powers of judicial review. Such issues should be left to be debated by academicians, scholars and historians. Judges, by experience and training, are not equipped to pronounce any verdict on such non-justiciable issues."
The court also highlighted that "on a closer examination of the prayers, we are of the opinion that the petitioner has called upon to adjudicate and give a verdict on a completely non-justiciable issue".
"While exercising our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution... the power of judicial review is circumscribed by certain well-recognised and established legal principles...one of such principles is the doctrine of non-justiciability," it further added. The petition also asked the court to form a fact-finding commission to research and publicise the Taj Mahal's "true history." According to the court's ruling, the petitioner requested the commissioning of research to learn more about the Taj Mahal's history and put the "controversy" around it to rest.
"As to which subject should be studied or researched or which topic of a particular area or discipline needs to be researched are not the issues where this court possesses any judicially manageable standards to adjudicate upon," the bench further said.