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Temple row: SC seeks immediate redressal of ‘disturbing features’

Temple row: SC seeks immediate redressal of ‘disturbing features’

New Delhi: The controversy surrounding the alleged mismanagement of Kerala’s famous Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple on Wednesday evoked sharp reaction from the Supreme Court, which said there are certain “disturbing features” and “extremely serious” issues which require immediate redressal.

“There are certain disturbing features. Few things are really disturbing which need to be taken care without loss of time,” a bench comprising Justices R.M. Lodha and A.K. Patnaik said.

The observation by the bench came at the outset of the hearing when senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who is appearing as an amicus curiae in the matter, was about to apprise the court about his April 15 report in which he highlighted several serious irregularities in the management of the temple and its wealth.

Mr. Subramaniam, who sought a direction from the court for restraining the present trustee and his family members from interfering either directly or indirectly with the day-to-day management of the temple, said keys of ‘kallaras’ (lock up) should be handed over to the judicial officer nominated by the District Judge.

He submitted there was need for independent management of the temple so that officials can carry out their function freely and fearlessly.

The senior advocate said proper sealing and locking of trunks has to be carried out as it was found that seals were broken.

After an hour-long hearing during which senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, appearing for scion of Travancore Royal family, raised objections to Mr. Subramaniam’s report, the bench said parties including Kerala Government will be given chance to respond to the findings in the report.

“The matter requires immediate hearing. To us it is an extremely serious matter. We would like to hear all of you,” the bench said, posting further hearing for Thursday.

Mr. Venugopal said everything in the report was not acceptable as astonishing things have been stated and in many cases wrong inferences have been drawn.

Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramaniam last week submitted a comprehensive report to the Supreme Court pointing out alleged mismanagement of the temple wealth.

The report had suggested that there had been instances of gold being smuggled out allegedly with the connivance of the trustees of the temple, whose underground vaults contain treasures.

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