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Kerala temple’s Vault B shouldn’t be opened, apex court told

The Supreme Court was Friday told by Travancore’s erstwhile royal family that the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple’s Vault B should not be opened and the treasures unearthed earlier not videographed or photographed as it was against the temple traditions and practices.

The royal family said this in an application before an apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik.

The application said the opening of Vault B and videographing and photographing of temple treasures to prepare a catalogue was against the traditions and practices of the temple and its believers.

The court expressed surprise when it was told by senior counsel Dhruv Mehta that the expert committee appointed by it left the decision to open or not to open Vault B of the temple to its head priest.

It wondered how could the committee which was mandated to take the decision outsource it to the priests of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

Meanwhile, the apex court was given the local court commissioner’s report on the temple treasure. The report, counsel Vipin Nair said, had pointed to the pilferage of gold ornaments by the members of the erstwhile royal family and executive officer of the temple.

The royal family in two applications – filed by Marthanda Varma and Rama Varma – has sought the removal of court commissioner whose earlier report was filked before the court Friday.

Effectively the two application have sought the modification of Aug 21 order of the apex court by which it had directed the expert committee to videograph, photgraph the treasure and prepare its catalogue. It was by this order that the court had mandated the expert committee appointed by it to take final call on the opening of the Vault B.

The court was told that royal family wanted the modification of the Aug 21 order because, according to Devaprasnam ritual (will of the God), the Vault B should not be opended and the treasure which has emerged from the vaults already opended should not be videographed or photographed.

At this court observed that the royal family should go by the ritual or by the court’s directions.

In the meanwhile, the court was given the report of its expert committee conducting and supervising the videography and photography of the treasure and steps for its safety.

Giving time to all the parties to peruse the expert committee’s report, the court will now take up the matter Sep 12.


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