On July 13th, a Bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra delivered a historic verdict in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple case. The verdict was delivered in two special leave petitions and a writ petition preferred against the judgment of January 31st, 2011 of the Kerala High Court. The high court had held in a batch of writ petitions and civil suits that the ‘Head’ or ‘Ruler’ of the Travancore Royal Family and his successors had no right to control or manage the affairs of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple owing to the abolition of all royal titles by the Constitution (Twenty Sixth Amendment) Act, 1971.
The high court had issued detailed directions which empowered the state government of Kerala to constitute a trust to take over the control of the Temple, its assets and management. Critically, such a trust was authorised by the high court’s judgment to open all the vaults (‘Kallaras’) of the Temple, inventorise all their contents and create a museum to exhibit all the ‘treasures’ of the Temple for the public, devotees and tourists on a payment basis within the premises of the Temple.