Friday, 30 September, 2011

Don’t open Vault B of Kerala Temple now: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said the vault ‘B’ of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple will be opened only after substantial work regarding documentation and preservation of assets unearthed from other ‘kalaras‘ (vaults) of the shrine is completed.

A bench headed by justice RV Raveendran turned down the plea of an expert committee to hand over the security of the temple to Central paramilitary forces and directed the state government to provide foolproof cover to the temple to protect its assets which are estimated to be over Rs 1.50 lakh crore.

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. AFP
The bench also said that the management of the temple would provide an amount of Rs 25 lakh per year for preservation of assets and security of the temple and the rest of the amount needed would be borne by the state government.

The court said that no tender should be floated for private players for giving contract for preservation work of the assets and said that it has to be done by Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (KELTRON).

The court said it will take up the matter again after three months.

The apex court had on 16 September reserved its orders for security of the temple and opening of vault B. It had said that tradition and customs would be protected as far as possible in providing security to the Temple.

The court had on 21 July appointed a five-member expert committee to supervise the unearthing and preservation of assets of the Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.

The committee is headed by Director General of National Museum CV Ananda Bose and comprises representatives of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The court had also appointed a three-member committee to oversee the work of unearthing of the temple’s assets.

The overseeing committee comprises retired judge of Kerala High Court, Justice MN Krishnan, the erstwhile Prince of Travancore Marthanda Varma and a government representative of the rank of secretary.

The apex court passed the orders on an application filed by Marthanda Varma and his family members challenging a Kerala High Court ruling of 31 January this year, ordering a takeover of the assets and management of the shrine by the state.

The bench had earlier expressed apprehension that the massive wealth was perhaps at a “risk” in view of the widespread publicity given to it in the media


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