The Bombay High Court last reserved its verdict in a 9-year-old suit initiated for declaration of title of leadership over the Dawoodi Bohra community across the world. [Taher Fakhruddin Saheb v. Mufaddal Burhanuddin Saifuddin].The Dawoodi Bohra community saw a major upheaval in 2014 post the demise of their ‘Syedna’ (community leader) Mohammad Burhanuddin, the 52nd leader.After his demise, his son, Mufaddal Saifuddin, took over as the 53rd leader. This was disputed by Khuzaima Qutbuddin, half brother of the deceased Syedna. He claimed he was the ‘Dai-al-Mutlaq’ (leader of the community) based on a secret ‘nass’ (conferment of succession) conferred by the late 52nd leader.When the dispute could not be resolved, Qutbuddin, the original plaintiff, filed a suit in the High Court on March 29, 2014 seeking the court to declare him as the rightful 53rd Dai. In 2016, while evidence was still being recorded, the original plaintiff passed away, and his son, Taher Fakhruddin, replaced his father, as the plaintiff.After conducting a trial, which went on for 9 years and 8 days, single-judge Justice GS Patel reserved the suit for order on April 5, 2023. .The original plaintiff pleaded in the suit that in 1965, the Syedna Burhanuddin called him in his chambers before taking an 'oath of allegiance' from members of the community as the 52nd Dai.Purportedly, the Dai conveyed that Qutbuddin would be appointed as 'second in command' to him and thereafter be elevated to Syedna's position. The Dai however asked that Qutbuddin keep the conversation confidential. After the 52nd Dai passed away, his son, Saifuddin, took over the post 'fraudulently', which compelled Qutbuddin to raise legal claim on the seat, he pleaded in his suit.The defendant on the other hand opposed pointing out that the deceased 52nd Dai, his father, had conferred 'nass' on the defendant in the presence of witnesses in a hospital in London in June 2011 where he had been admitted. This had been ‘re-affirmed’ publicly during an event in Mumbai on June 20, 2011..Justice Patel was specifically assigned for adjudicating the case till its conclusion and judgment.After an intensive 46 day final hearing, which took place after court working hours, Justice Patel closed the arguments and reserved the suit for orders..As Justice Patel recorded in one of his orders, “a very large number of lawyers” appeared on both sides.Advocates Anand Desai, Chirag Mody, Nausher Kohli, Samit Shukla, Saloni Shah and Shivani Khanwilkar instructed by DSK Legal appeared for the plaintiff. Initially, Senior Advocate Ravi Kadam was a part of the team till the original plaintiff was alive. Post his death, Desai and Mody took over the plaintiff’s case..The defendant was represented by a team led by five senior advocates briefed by Argus Partners. Senior Advocates Iqbal Chagla, Janak Dwarkadas, FE DeVitre, Pankaj Savant, Firdosh Pooniwalla along with Advocates Azmin Irani, Abeezar Faizullabhoy, Shahen Pradhan, Murtaza Kachwalla, Jehaan Mehta, Ammar Faizullabhoy, Chirag Kamdar, Juzer Shakir, Jaisha Sabavala and Musafa Maimoon appeared for the defendant.