SC Concerned Over Disturbing Issues in Padmanabha Temple Management
Expressing serious concern over the disturbing issues in the management of Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will have to intervene by passing certain orders to put an end to the controversy surrounding it. “There are certain disturbing features. Few things are really disturbing which need to be taken care without loss of time,” a Bench comprising Justice R M Lodha and Justice A K Patnaik said.
At the beginning of the hearing, Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who is appearing as an amicus curiae on the matter, stated about his report, which he had submitted last week, in which he highlighted several serious irregularities in the management of the temple and its wealth.
Subramaniam, who 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, said keys of ‘kallaras’ (vaults) should be handed over to the judicial officer nominated by the District Judge.
He submitted that there was a need for independent management of the temple so that officials can discharge their duties freely and fearlessly. The senior advocate said proper sealing and locking of trunks have to be carried out as it was found that seals were broken.
When Senior Advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the Travancore Royal Family, raised objections to Subramaniam’s report, the Bench said parties including the Kerala Government will be given a chance to respond to the findings in the report. “The matter requires immediate hearing. To us it is an extremely serious matter. We would like to hear all of you,” the Bench said, posting further hearing for Thursday.
Venugopal said everything in the report was not acceptable as astonishing things have been stated and in many cases wrong inferences have been drawn. He also objected to the amicus curiae inspecting the residential area of the royal family which is separated from the temple complex. When Venugopal made mention of Subramaniam’s religious inclination, the Bench said, “It would be highly unfair”.
“We would like to respect the amicus curiae. We would like you to say not a word against him. It would not be proper. He may be having perception. It is highly unfair as a matter of fact. It is at our request he agreed to assist us,” the Bench said.
Additional Solicitor General K V Vishwanathan, appearing for the Kerala Government, also disputed some facts raised by Subramaniam on the cleaning of tanks in the temple.