On Monday (July 13), the Supreme Court's two-judge bench led by Justice UU Lalit read the verdict on the long-running dispute of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple Treasure Case. The court has upheld the ex-royal family of Travancore's rights and appeals to manage the temple and its treasury.
The verdict delivered on Monday ensures that the temple and coffers will not come under government control and that the shebaitship rights of the royal family will continue to be exerted.
SC allows appeal of the royal family
The apex court heard the case of the long-running dispute on the Padmanabhaswamy Temple Treasure. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the richest shrines in the world situated in Kerala. The treasure stored int he temple has acquired national interest to be one of the largest collections of precious metals and gems in the world today.
For over 1,000 years the Royal House of Travancore has managed the Vishnu shrine, however, in 2011 a Kerala High Court verdict asked the state government to set up a trust and take control of the management of assets of the temple. In June 2011, 5 of the shrine's 6 vaults were opened, however, the question of Vault B being opened also caused intrigue as to what was inside it and was not opened following the royal family's injunction against opening it. Opening the Vault was considered improper which has been sealed for thousands of years.
Now, on Monday a two-judge bench consisting of Justice UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra after hearing the case has upheld the rights of the royal family. Justice Lalit reading the verdict said, "We allow the appeal of the royal family of Travancore. Death does not effect Shebaitship of the Travancore Family. The bench gives a nod for constituting a committee headed by the district judge of Trivandrum." Till a new committee is formed the interim committee will preside on matters related to the temple.
The verdict also addressed the opening of the mystical 'Vault B' where Justice Lalit said that the new committee formed will decide on what needs to be done. Moreover, all the members of the committee formed will be Hindus.
The ex-royal family of Travancore welcomed the decision of the Supreme court, "Great God's will prevailed. Will say more about it after going through the whole verdict," Princess Gowri Lakshmibai said.