A special administrative committee told the Supreme Court on Friday that the Padmanabhaswamy Temple will be unable to pay 11.7 crores to the Kerala government – to reimburse the state for security and maintenance-related expenses. This is because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee, one of two set up by the court in July last year to handle temple affairs until arrangements were made by Travancore’s former royal family, said contributions were affected by the disease outbreak, and need additional time to pay the sum.
At this time, the court said it would not pass an order, adding that all its previous directions in the case had been implemented by the top court.”Let the (Kerala) government consider the request,” the top court said.
More About The Case Regarding Temple:
The court said it would take it up in mid-September with respect to the audit of temple accounts. The case was heard by a two-judge bench of Justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra.
In July of 2020, the court ruled that the state would initially pay all expenditures regarding the security and upkeep of the temple and that this would be reimbursed at a later date. It set aside the decision of the Kerala High Court and affirmed the royal family’s right to run the temple.
It was also left to the previous royal family by the court to choose to open a hidden room that had been locked for years. The family had claimed it’s because of a curse, the opening of the vault – called “Kallara” in Malayalam – would carry tragedy.
In the 18th century, the sprawling temple, an architectural magnificence in granite, was reconstructed in its current form by the Travancore Royal House. It controlled southern Kerala and some neighboring parts of Tamil Nadu until the Prince’s State was incorporated into the Indian Union in 1947.
The temple reopened on August 26 after remaining closed to the public since the Covid lockdown in March, although with some restrictions. It was briefly shut down again in October after being tested positive for coronavirus by 12 members of staff, plus 10 priests.
In addition to the traditional rules of Covid – the wearing of face masks, the use of hand sanitizers, and the protection of social distance – the temple also permitted limited devotees per day. It is also not permitted for devotees to touch the idol, walls, or any other objects.
Kerala has the largest number of active cases of Covid in the world – over 64,000 – and so far has recorded nearly 4,000 virus-related deaths.