New Delhi | The Supreme Court today asked senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam to continue to assist it as amicus curaie in the row over the administration and management of Kerala’s famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. A bench of justices T S Thakur and A R Dave turned down the plea of Subramaniam who pleaded to be relieved as amicus after a volley of allegations were leveled against him by members of Travancore royal family for his report on temple mismanagement by them.
Having done so much on the issue, we want and request you to be here, the bench said, adding that it had not taken note of allegations made by the family members. It also objected to the submission of the counsel appearing for royal family members who opposed the amicus visiting the temple at 3 AM during his stay there for 39 days.
The bench also asked all the parties to come to a consensus on some of 129 recommendations made by Subramaniam so that they can be implemented for the betterment of the temple. It granted two weeks time to them and posted the case for further hearing on November 28. Senior advocates K K Venugopal and Harish Salve, appearing for the family members, contended that Subramaniam as an amicus curaie overreached his mandate by levelling serious allegations against them in his report.
They alleged the amicus even interfered with the rituals of the temple. The apex court had on April 24 asked former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai to supervise special audit of property of the temple and constituted a new administrative committee headed by the District Judge, Thiruvananthapuram. Subramaniam in his report had highlighted several serious irregularities in the management of the temple and its wealth.
He had sought a direction from the court for restraining the present trustee and his family members from interfering either directly or indirectly with the day-to-day management of the temple. He had submitted that there was a need for an independent management of the temple so that officials can carry out their functions freely and fearlessly.
He had said huge amounts of gold and silver donated by devotees had never been reported by the trustees and those were also never accounted or audited for and there had been no valuation of the precious metals for 30 years. For 10 years, the temple did not file income tax return.
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