The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain an application filed by the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trust, created by the erstwhile Travancore Royal Family, seeking exemption from the audit of 25 years, which was ordered by the top court last year.
A bench headed by justice U.U. Lalit said that the special audit was intended not confined to the temple, but included the trust as well. The bench said the audit should be completed preferably in 3 months.
On September 17, the Administrative Committee of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala had informed the Supreme Court that the temple is facing financial difficulty – expenses not met, as offerings are insufficient.
Senior advocate R. Basant, representing the committee, had submitted that all temples in Kerala are closed and citing the financial difficulty, said Rs 1.25 crore is the monthly expense, but the temple hardly gets Rs 60-70 lakh. He added there is a trust, which was constituted as per top court’s order and it must contribute to the temple and sought an audit of the trust.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing the trust, submitted that it is a public trust, which was made by the royal family and it has no role in administration, also it is not there in the petition, instead it was just mentioned by the amicus curiae in the case.
He further argued that the trust was constituted only to oversee the pujas and rituals of the temple involving the family. “It came into picture only before the Supreme Court after the amicus curiae demanded that the accounts of the trust also should be audited,” said Datar, adding it shouldn’t be audited as it is separate from the temple.