Thiruvananthapuram District Judge to head panel

With a view to cleaning up the administration of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the Supreme Court on Thursday entrusted its administration to a five-member committee headed by the Thiruvananthapuram District Judge.

A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and A.K. Patnaik asked the temple’s Executive Officer to go on leave, and appointed Satish Kumar, a senior IAS officer and former administrator of the Guruvayur temple.

It also directed the former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai to undertake the audit of the temple properties, assets, and accounts. The Bench said: “The five-member committee will comprise the Thiruvananthapuram District Judge, temple Tantri Satish Namboodiri, Chief Nambi, and two more members, of which one will be appointed in consultation with the State government.”

In its order, the Bench said: “Until further orders, no property of the temple will be alienated, sold or dealt with in any manner. In case the District Judge was a non-Hindu, the next senior-most Hindu judge in the district will be the administrative committee’s chairman.” The Bench expressed its dissatisfaction over the manner in which the temple was being maintained and said: “The trustees have failed badly and they have to be changed. If we have to give opportunity to the same persons and returned to them, then God save this temple. We have to look at larger public interest and the interest of the temple.”

The Bench said the administrative committee, once it took charge of the affairs, would free the trustees from any liability on the decision taken by the panel.

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