Kerala

Prepare inventory of Thiurvabharanam: SC

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed retired Kerala High Court judge C.N. Ramachandran Nair to prepare a detailed inventory of Thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments) of the Sabarimala temple deity Lord Ayyappa.

A Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana said the Ramachandran Nair committee may take the help of an expert appraiser in the exercise. The detailed list will be handed over to the apex court in a sealed cover. The court listed the case for hearing in four weeks.

The order was initiated on the advice of the Kerala government, represented by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal. The court had on Wednesday asked the State’s opinion on the measures to be taken to keep the ornaments safe and secure.

Padmanabhaswamy case

Mr. Venugopal drew the court’s attention to how the Supreme Court had earlier made the “lakhs of crores” worth of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple treasure secure.

Taking a leaf out of that case, Mr. Venugopal said the first thing to do would be to take a detailed inventory list of Lord Ayyappa’s ornaments.

“What the State government has now is a very generalised list. Look, item eight in the list is a diamond object... but nobody knows what carats. A jeweller can be taken on board by the committee to examine the jewellery so that later it cannot be replaced with fake items,” Mr. Venugopal submitted.

Royal family objects

Senior advocate R.K. Radhakrishnan, appearing for some senior members of the Pandalam royal family, objected to the move to make the Kerala government responsible for the custody and security of the ornaments.

He objected to the inventory as “indirect” intrusion by the State on the private property of the royal family.

Mr. Venugopal said this was the same mistake made by the Travancore royal family in the Padmanabhaswamy temple case.

They had claimed that all the valuables to belonged to them. Petitions were filed. The AG said the treasure belonged to the deity and rests with the government.

Justice Ramana said the court was currently only concerned with the safety and security of the sacred ornaments. The Bench orally observed that though the jewellery is with the Raja, the ornaments ultimately belong to the deity.

Temple management

The Kerala government, meanwhile, informed the Supreme Court that it needed a month to finalise an exclusive legislation for the management of the Sabarimala temple. Late last year, the Bench had directed the Kerala government to draft a separate law exclusively covering the administration of the Sabarimala temple by the third week of January.

The court had previously expressed dissatisfaction when the State produced a draft Bill, the Travancore-Cochin Religious Institutions (Amendment) Bill of 2019, – containing certain proposed amendments to the Travancore-Cochin Religious Institutions Act of 1950. The 1950 Act now governs over a 100 temples, including Sabarimala.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 3:26:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/prepare-inventory-of-thiurvabharanam-sc/article30764063.ece