SC: Padmanabha Swamy Temple

The Supreme Court on Friday reserved order on an application filed by the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust to exempt it from the audit of 25 years as ordered by the top court last year for one of the richest temples in the world.

New Delhi [India], September 17 : A Bench of Justice UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela Trivedi reserved the order after hearing the arguments of all the parties in the case. The Trust was created by the erstwhile Travancore Royal Family which manages the affairs of iconic Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram.
Last year, the apex court ordered that the income and expenditure records of the past 25 years of both Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple and Trust must be audited by a trustworthy institution.
Following the top court’s direction the private CA firm engaged in the audit has asked the Trust to submit the income and expenditure records.
The top court had also upheld the right of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore to manage the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram with its immense riches.
With this, the apex court had decided on the nine-year legal battle over whether the erstwhile royal family or the State of Kerala have the right to administer and manage the ancient temple after the death of the last Maharajah of the princely state.
The top court had also set aside the 2011 verdict of the Kerala High Court which had directed the state government to set up a trust to take control of management and assets of the temple.
Now, the Trust has approached the top court against the audit and contended that the Trust was constituted only to oversee the pujas and rituals of the historic temple involving the family, with no role in the administration.
The Trust came into the picture only before the Supreme Court after the amicus curiae demanded that the accounts of the trust should also be audited, senior advocate Arvind P Datar appearing for the Trust argued.
Senior advocate R Basat, appearing for the Administrative Committee constituted by the Court for the temple, said that the accounts of the Trust also need to be audited.
“The temple today is in great financial stress. Trust has to meet the day-to-day expenses of the temple. They are trying to evade the responsibility,” Basant said.
Advocate Datar later clarified that the Trust is not objecting to the audit and was seeking a clarification that it should not be placed under the Administrative Committee.

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