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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said that administrative committee headed by district judge will continue to manage the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala. The committee was formed by the Supreme Court while it settled the dispute over ownership and management rights of the temple which is considered to be the richest temple in the world.
In 2011 the apex court had acted upon the petition of IPS officer Sundarajan over control of the temple trust which has been governed by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore for more than a thousand years.
In the wake of charges of alleged financial irregularities., the case in the Supreme Court pertains to who should get the ownership, control and management of the temple trust—the erstwhile royal family of Travancore, or a Devaswom board controlled by Kerala government.
However, the Supreme Court on Monday announced to keep the management rights of the temple with the administrative committee it had earlier formed and which is headed by the district judge.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra had heard final arguments for nearly three months before reserving the verdict on April 10 last year on a bunch of petitions challenging a Kerala High Court’s January 31, 2011 judgement.
The SC had on May 2, 2011 stayed the HC direction to the state government to take over the assets and management of the temple. On that day nine years ago, the SC had also directed preparation of an inventory of articles/valuables/ornaments/ precious stones in kallara (vault) A to F, but had later clarified that kallara B would not be opened without express orders of the apex court.
The preparation of inventories had given rise to speculation that even without opening of kallara B, the value of the gold, ornaments and precious stones of the temple, traditionally managed by the heirs of former Travancore ruler Marthanda Varma, was around Rs 1 lakh crore. This led to the SC cautioning the media from publishing speculative stories on the value of the temple wealth but at the same time putting an IPS officer and team of police personnel for 24X7 security of the temple and its assets.

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