The erstwhile royal family of Travancore, whose rights on the administration of the centuries-old Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple were upheld by the Supreme Court in a verdict Monday, welcomed the ruling, thanking all those who stood by them for the past nine years.
In a video statement released by the family, it said, “Please do not consider this as the victory of a royal family member. We see it only as a blessing of Lord Padmabhaswamy on all his devotees. We thank all those people who waited and suffered with us all these years. May the Lord protect everyone.”
Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, a member of the family, also told the local Asianet news, “We are very happy with the verdict. We thank the thousands of people who blessed us and supported us. All the riches of the temple belong only to God. We have no rights in the riches. We prostrate at the lotus feet of Lord Padmanabhaswamy.”
At the same time, the state government, which was the opposing side in the case, indicated that it would not appeal against the top court verdict. Kadakampally Surendran, the state’s temple administration minister, told reporters, “We welcome the verdict. We have to study it in detail. Whatever decision the Supreme Court has taken, the government will abide by it.”
The verdict of the top court has reversed the 2011 judgment of the Kerala High Court which had asked the state government to take over the administration of the temple from a trust governed by the members of the Travancore royal family. Months after the HC verdict, a detailed inventory of the articles of treasure within the ancient underground vaults of the temple as ordered by the Supreme Court revealed massive riches to the order of Rs 90,000 crores indicating that the temple could perhaps be the richest in the world.
Monday’s division bench ruling by justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra has approved a committee under the Thiruvananthapuram district judge to oversee the administration of the temple going forward. It also underlined that the death of the Travancore ruler who signed the Covenant does not affect Shebayatship of the erstwhile royal family.