SC says Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust must face 25-year audit
A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, Bela Trivedi and Ravindra Bhat directed the process to be completed within three months.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the plea filed by the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust plea seeking exemption from audit of income and expenses in the last 25 years.
Rejecting the Trust's plea seeking exemption from the audit which was ordered by the Apex Court in July 2020, a bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, Bela Trivedi and Ravindra Bhat directed the process to be completed within three months.
The Trust had contended that it could not be included in the audit has it had been constituted only to oversee the rituals of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, which is widely believed to be the richest place of worship in the world.
The Supreme Court has last year handed over the administration of the temple in Thiruvananthapuram from the former Travancore royal family to a committee. Besides this, the Apex court also ordered an audit of the temple's income and expenses for 25 years.
To recall, the temple's administrative committee, which is headed by a district judge, had informed the Supreme Court on September 17 that it is facing severe financial stress and that the offerings of devotees were insufficient to meet the expenses.
The temple administration had contended that the Trust, which was formed by the erstwhile Travancore ruler in 1965 and allegedly has assets running into crores of rupees, had not been supporting them financially.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court bench refrained from passing orders on the Trust's plea seeking to be declared as an independent and distinct entity from the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple.
The Trust wanted to be excluded from control of the temple's administrative and advisory committees that were created under the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Endowments Act of 1950.