The Central Information Commission recommended that the Ministry of Culture should clarify its stand on the conflicting claims regarding the Taj Mahal being a Shiva Temple rather than a mausoleum built by Shahjahan.
Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu also directed the Archaeological Survey of India to share with the Appellant, documents and affidavits filed on behalf of the Centre in such cases.
The CIC was hearing an Appeal filed by one Mr. B.K.S.R. Ayyangar, who had sought to know whether the Taj Mahal was actually a Shiva Temple. To this end, Mr. Ayyangar had sought the construction details of the monument, along with details of any hidden and closed rooms.
At the outset, Mr. Acharyulu noted that Mr. Ayyangar’s expectations of research and investigation into the history of the Taj Mahal were beyond the purview of the RTI Act. He also opined that people should have filed objections about the Taj Mahal with the ASI, before the Taj Mahal was declared a protected monument.
“What the appellant expected from his RTI application is research and investigation into the history of Taj Mahal, which is beyond the purview of the RTI Act and Archaeological Survey of India. It is unreasonable to ask for opening of closed rooms, bringing out hidden things, and for excavations underneath the protected monument of Taj Mahal and rewriting the history under an RTI application,” Prof. Acharyulu observed.
Therefore, while he directed the ASI to inform the Appellant about the discoveries made during any excavations undertaken at the Taj Mahal, he observed that the CIC cannot direct any new excavations.
The CIC also took into account the different cases pending before the Supreme Court, Allahabad High Court and the Agra District Court, as also the book titled “Taj Mahal: The True Story” authored by Mr. P.N. Oak.
Prof. Acharyulu then suggested that the Ministry give its stand on the frequent claims based on historian Mr. Oak and Advocate Yogesh Saxena’s writings.