The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the rights of Travancore royal family in administration of historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala
It ruled that the District Judge of Thiruvananthapuram will head the administrative committee to manage affairs of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The decision on the opening of ‘vault B’ will vest with the administrative comittee.
The top court delivered the verdict on a batch of appeals, including the one filed by the legal representatives of the Travancore royal family, challenging the January 31, 2011 verdict of the high court in the matter.
The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour in granite, was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royal House which had ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before integration of the princely state with the Indian Union in 1947.
The controversy over the administration and management of the historic temple has been pending in the apex court for last nine years in the wake of charges of alleged financial irregularities.
The bench had on April 10 last year reserved its judgement on the pleas challenging the January 31, 2011 verdict of the Kerala High Court in the matter.
The high court had directed the state government to take steps to set up a body or trust to take control of the temple, its assets and management and to run the temple in accordance with the traditions.
The apex court had on May 2, 2011 stayed the high court’s direction regarding taking over of the assets and management of the temple.
The top court had also directed that there shall be a detailed inventory of the articles, valuables, ornaments in Kallaras (vaults).
On July 8, 2011, the apex court had said that “opening of kallara ”B” is to be kept in abeyance till further orders”.
In July 2017, the apex court had said it would examine the claims that one of the vaults the vaults the temple contained extraordinary treasure with “mystical” energy.
It had passed a slew of directions including on the security of the treasures, auditing of accounts and repair of the deity.
The top court was in July 2017 told by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, that ”Kallara” (vault) B of the temple should be opened as it was closed “on the apprehension that there is some mystical energy”.
The court had also appointed former apex court judge Justice K S P Radhakrishnan as chairperson of the selection committee which was constituted for works, including in the Sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum).