In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court of India on Monday, July 13, upheld the rights of the erstwhile Travancore Royal Family in the administration of the historic Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapura, Kerala. The Temple is one of the richest in India.
In its order, the Supreme Court said that the District Judge of Thiruvananthapuram should head the administrative committee to manage the affairs of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple.
The apex court pronounced the verdict on petitions filed against the Kerala High Court’s order that directed the state government to take over the administration of the temple. The controversies related to the administration of the temple were pending in the Supreme Court for the last nine years. The case was dragged into the court after allegations of financial irregularities were reported.
A team mandated by the Supreme Court in 2011 opened five vaults (kallaras) in the temple. As per the inventory, a huge wealth of Rs 1 lakh crore in the form of jewellery, idols, weapons, utensils and coins were found in the vaults.
The temple was rebuilt in its present form in 18th century by the Travancore Royal family, who were the rulers of southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before it was annexed to India. Even after integration of the princely state with the Indian Union, the temple administration was under a trust controlled by the erstwhile royal family. Lord Padmanabha is their family deity.