Take expert help to save Taj from fading, says Supreme Court

Centre assured that all possible steps would be taken to preserve and protect this monument.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed “shock” and “serious concern” over the fading of colour of the 700-year-old historic monument Taj Mahal in Agra and asked the Centre and Archaeological Survey of India to take the assistance of national/international experts to restore the heritage site to its pristine glory.

A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta voiced concern on seeking photographs submitted by PIL activist M.C. Mehta and orally observed “It (colour of the marble) was first becoming yellow. Now it seems to be green and black.” Mr Mehta had filed the PIL in 1984 seeking court intervention to the deteriorating condition of Taj.

Referring to the PIL, the Bench said, “It appears that you do not have the expertise or you have but do not want to utilise it or you do not care about it (Taj). Every state dignitary visiting the country is made to visit Taj. Either it (monument) stays or goes. You have to decide it. There may be a time that there will be no judicial will to deal with this.”

Additional solicitor general (ASG) Tushar Mehta, for Uttar Pradesh along with Ms Aishwarya Bhati, and ASG A. S Nadkarni, for the Centre assured that all possible steps would be taken to preserve and protect this monument.

The Bench asked the law officers as to when did they last visit Taj. When both replied it was a decade ago, the Bench asked them to go to Agra.

“You all appear to be helpless. Money should not be the consideration. We might order you to hire experts from within India or abroad. We need to save it (Taj),” the bench told the law officers, giving them a week’s time to come back with their response. In his fresh application, petitioner Mr Mehta alleged that due to water and air pollution, a specific type of insect had started feeding on the boundary walls of Taj Mahal and that the colour of the marble was fading from pale yellow to brown.

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