The former royal family of Travancore seems to be losing the battle for the custodianship of the world’s richest temple Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Tiruvanthapuram to the Kerala Government.
The Supreme Court of India, in a series of directions passed on Tuesday has asked the Kerala Government to appoint an executive officer to the temple, who will be responsible for the day to day running of the temple. The executive officer of the temple shall be accountable to the administrative committee of the temple headed by the District Judge of Tiruvanthapuram.
On the question of a providing a whole time security in-charge for the temple, a bench of justices J S Kehar and D Y Chandrachud said, “in the light of recent incidents of theft and the fact that the temple houses immense wealth proper security arrangements have to be made. And Kerala government must suggest a panel of names from which an officer will be appointed to the post.”
At the moment there is a SP level officer with 200 policemen who are responsible for the security of the temple. The name of former
Another direction which will have far reaching implications for the control of the temple was with regard to the appointment of a Financial Controller to the temple.
The court ordered Kerala government to constitute a panel of 3 officers of the Indian Audit and Accounts service officer who will be responsible for the audit of the temple and Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple trust.
The role of the 3 officer will be that of an external auditor. The court went on to say, “the fear of an external auditor will put things in place”.
So far the Temple and Trust has been beyond the purview of an external or an independent audit.
The deity of Padmanabha Swami temple is the family deity of the Travancore royal family. Members of the erstwhile royal family had dedicated their kingdom to the deity and pledged that they will live as servants of Padmanabha. The shrine is run by a trust floated by the Travnacore royal family.
However this arrangement ran into trouble after a petition was filed in the Kerala High court saying that the Temple was being mismanaged and the government should take it over. The Kerala High court in 2011 ruled that immediate steps be taken to constitute a body corporate or trust or other legal authority to take over control of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
The Supreme Court of india is presently hearing a bunch of appeals against this order of the Kerala High court.