Padmanabhaswamy temple faces severe financial constraints, panel says to SC
He asks for a joint audit of temple and trust accounts.
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Administrative Committee in Thiruvananthapuram informed the Supreme Court on Friday that the temple was going through “very difficult times” financially and that the accounts covering 25 years of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trust (SPSTT) should be audited together with that of the temple accounts. for the same period.
The committee, headed by the Thiruvananthapuram District Judge, informed a judiciary led by Judge UU Lalit that there was a need to know how much of the temple’s property belonged to the trust.
“My properties also belong to the trust … In April 2014, the Supreme Court’s amicus curiae recommended that 25 years of temple and trust accounts be audited … The trust looked after the day-to-day expenses of the temple, âsubmitted lead counsel R. Basant, committee representative.
The committee said the Supreme Court, in its July 2020 judgment upholding the right of the Travancore royal family to take over the temple, ordered an audit “as suggested by the amicus curiae.”
Mr. Basant argued that the court was referring to an April 15, 2014 report filed by lead counsel Gopal Subramanium, who was then amicus curiae.
In its report, the amicus recommended a “special audit” by former comptroller and auditor general Vinod Rai of the 25-year accounts of the temple and the SPSTT.
Mr. Basant said the temple and the trust cannot be viewed separately and must be audited together.
The court was considering an application filed by the SPSTT for a declaration that it was an “independent entity separate from the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple”.
The SPSTT, represented by senior counsel Arvind Datar and attorney Shyam Mohan, said it was not under the administrative control of the administrative committee or advisory committee formed under the Hindu Religious Endowments Act 1950 Travancore Cochin.
âWill the audit of the accounts for the past 25 years extend to both the temple and the trust? We need clarification … The trust has already been audited for the period between 2008 and 2014 … Has it needed to be audited for 25 years now, âasked Mr. Datar.
Mr. Basant said, âThe temple is under great financial strain. Her monthly expenses are â¹ 1.25 crore … which is why they [SPSTT] ask to be excluded. The trust has â¹ 2.89 crore in silver and â¹ 1.95 crore in assets according to a report by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Raiâ¦ Need to explain how much they have nowâ¦ â.
“The trust was public”
Mr. Datar replied that the trust was public. It was formed by the former ruler of Travancore in 1965 for “the perpetual continuation of devotional offerings in the temple, other specified religious rites and certain functions which are integral to the traditions of the royal family …” He said : âWhen the case arose before the Supreme Court, the initial investigation was only about the temple and not about the trust. This was the position until the amicus curiae brought it up in 2014. â
Mr Datar stressed that he did not want the court to give the administrative committee supervisory powers over it. âIf my lords want the 25-year audit, we have absolutely no problem. But we are an independent entity. We have filed our tax returns. We don’t want the committee to have oversight powers over us, âhe said.
The court reserved the case for the ordinances.