Friday, July 15, 2011

Temple wealth belongs to Sri Padmanabha Swamy, says Raja Marthanda Varma

July 10, 2011
Ashadh Shukla Dashami, Kaliyug Varsha 5113

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has halted the opening of the 'B' vault of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala. In an interim order, the court asked the state government to provide adequate security to safeguard the treasure unlocked, which has been valued at over rupees one lakh crore.

A bench comprising Justice RV Raveendran and Justice AK Patnaik on Friday asked petitioner Raja Marthanda Varma, the successor of the ruler of the princely state of Travancore, and the Kerala government to come out with appropriate suggestions to ensure the sanctity and security of the ancient temple of the state. The bench said utmost security should be ensured in and around the temple following the discovery of the huge wealth there.

"Instead of having their eyes on the deity or sanctum sanctorum, the eyes of many people will now be on these vaults," the court said. The court will hear the matter further on Thursday. Senior counsel KK Venogopal on behalf of petitioner Verma said that the temple was a public property and no member of the royal family claims any ownership or right over the huge property. "The royal family is not claiming any ownership.

It is a public temple. It is not claiming any ownership of property. No part of it belongs to any member of the family. The property belongs to Lord Padmanabha Swamy," said Venugopal. He further clarified that the value of the treasure reportedly discovered from the temple was not authentic and it was media speculations. At this, the bench said, "so these are valuation by the media?"

The apex court had on July 6 directed for videography of the opening up of the storage rooms of the temple. It had also proposed for the the appointment of a curator of a museum to preserve the treasure being unearthed from the centuries-old temple. It had also appointed retired judges of Kerala High Court, Justice MN Krishnan and Justice CS Rajan as observers to supervise unearthing of the temple's treasure and had said that the inventory list would be prepared in their presence.

The two petitioners were also authorised by the apex court to be present during the preparation of the inventory list. The court had also said the inventory shall be made in the presence of the Devaswom Department's Secretary or a representative, besides a senior officer of the Department of Archeology. The petitioners had moved the Supreme Court after the Kerala High Court directed "the state government to immediately take steps to constitute a body corporate or trust or other legal authority to take over control of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple, its assets and management and to run the same in accordance with all the traditions hitherto followed."

Source: Economic Times

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