NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam to continue to assist it as amicus curiae in the row over the administration and management of Sree Padmanabhaswami temple after counsel for the Travancore royal family accused him of not being fair to them.
A Bench of Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave turned down the plea of Subramaniam, who pleaded to be relieved after allegations were levelled against him by the royal family for his report on temple mismanagement by them.
On this, the bench said, “Having done so much on the issue, we want and request you to be here.”
Senior advocates K K Venugopal and Harish Salve, appearing for the family members, contended that Subramaniam as an amicus curaie overreached his mandate by levelling serious allegations against them in his report.
They alleged the amicus curiae even interfered with the rituals of the temple.
However, the Bench took strong exception to the allegation levelled by the royal family saying that Subramaniam had visited the temple at 3 am during his stay there for 39 days and directed the counsel not to use these expressions.
The Bench also asked all the parties to reach a consensus on some of the 129 recommendations of Subramaniam for the betterment of the temple. It granted two weeks’ time to them and posted the case for further hearing on November 28.
The capex ourt had on April 24 asked former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai to supervise special audit of the property of the temple and constituted a new administrative committee headed by the District Judge, Thiruvananthapuram.
Subramaniam, in his report, had highlighted several serious irregularities in the management of the temple and its wealth. He had sought a direction from the court for restraining the present trustee and his family members from interfering either directly or indirectly with the day-to-day management of the temple.
He had submitted that there was a need for an independent management of the temple so that officials can carry out their duty fearlessly.
Subramaniam had said huge amounts of gold and silver donated by devotees had never been reported by the trustees and those were also never accounted or audited for and there had been no valuation of the precious metals for 30 years. For 10 years, the temple did not file income tax return.