Issuing the order was a mistake: Jayakumar

The State government has cancelled its order designating conservationist M.V. Nair as the coordinator of the Supreme Court Committee on the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, here.

The GO issued on October 27 was cancelled on November 2 after the government realised that it did not have the authority to designate any person as the coordinator of a committee constituted by the Supreme Court. The apex court had designated the former director general of the national museum C.V. Ananda Bose as the head of the committee to inventory the vaults of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

A top government official told The Hindu here on Friday that there is no change in the government's view that Mr. Nair — who is already a member of the committee — should be its new coordinator. This view, the official said, would be stated in an affidavit to be filed before the Supreme Court on November 8. When asked about the affidavit, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K. Jayakumar said the government would also make it clear to the Supreme Court that a GO was issued and that later, it was cancelled. “We cancelled the GO as soon as we realised that it was a mistake to issue it in the first place,” he said.

Bose's version

In an interaction with The Hindu, Mr. Bose described the issue and cancellation of the GO as “an error committed by some officials which was corrected by the Chief Minister and the Culture Minister.” Till the Supreme Court says otherwise, he continues to be the coordinator of the committee. “I will continue to discharge my duties as mandated by the Supreme Court with the full cooperation of the State government,” he added.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told The Hindu that discussions on an alternative to Mr. Bose had taken place against the backdrop of his retirement from the Central service and the fact that that the Centre had, so far, not officially extended his term of service.

“The State government has nothing against Mr. Bose. Let the Supreme Court decide on this matter. If the Court leaves it to the government to decide, then we will take a call on that. The interests of the temple will be in the forefront whatever decision the government takes on the issue,” he added.

Now, till the apex court decides on the coordinator the preparatory activities relating to the inventorying of the vaults will remain in limbo. Also, no agency has been officially mandated yet to execute the inventorying process. Mr. Jayakumar has already indicated that the government will try and reduce the inventorying-related expenses without compromising on the quality of the exercise. All these point to the possibility of a major delay in the commencement of the inventorying process.