The Supreme Court on Monday (July 13) ruled that despite the death of the Travancore ruler who signed the covenant, the Travancore royal family will handle the administration of the Sree Padmanabhaswami Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
The bench, comprising Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran, pronounced the judgment through video conferencing, noted that the death of the Travancore ruler does not affect the shebaitship of the Travancore royal family.
An appeal had been filed by the royal family against the judgment of the Kerala High Court which stated that the rights of the family ceased when the last ruler of the Travancore family died in the year 1991. The order further directed the government to take over all the administration of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
However, the Supreme Court said the death of the last ruler cannot be the reason for the seizure of the royal family’s rights.
The Sree Padmanabhaswami Temple was being managed by the ruler of Travancore under the instrument of accession signed between the ruler and the central government in 1949. However, the last ruler of the Travancore died in the year 1991 and the royal family continued to administer the temple. While several devotees filed cases against the issue of management, the HC held that after the death of the last ruler, the status of the ruler cannot be acquired through succession.
The Supreme Court has further approved a committee to be lead by the Thiruvananthapuram district judge to look after the administration as an interim arrangement.
-India Legal Bureau
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