Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple case: Devotees want committee to manage temple

  1. Devotees have argued before the Supreme Court that a broad-based committee like Devosam Board should be created for the management of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple.  Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  2. The devotees have argued that a covenant of erstwhile Travancore royal family cannot be executed as it is non-enforceable. The petitioners referred to the Twenty-sixth Constitution Amendment Act of 1971 which abolished the concept of ‘rulership’ by incorporating Article 366 (22) of the Constitution. It also abolished privy purses, special privileges and rights provided to erstwhile rulers of Indian states.
  3. Recently, the erstwhile Travancore Royal family acknowledged that the temple is a “public property” but argued in court that the family should be allowed to exercise control over the temple management.
  4. The management of Sree Padmanabha Sway temple has been a contentious issue since 2007 after a plea was filed in court alleging that the royal family is trying to make the temple its private property.
  5. In 2011, the Kerala High Court ordered takeover of the assets and management of the temple by the State under Article 295 and Article 296 of the Constitution of India. It also directed creation of a Devosam board for management of the temple.  
  6. The High Court’s decision was challenged by the royal family in Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also appointed Amicus Curiae whose 2014 report brought out serious irregularities and malpractices in the management of the temple and its wealth. SC had then ordered administration to be handed over to a 5-member committee headed by the district judge.