Swami Padmanabha Temple, Supreme Court
Swami Padmanabha Temple, Supreme Court
Litigation News

Padmanabhaswamy Temple: "Death of King does not effect Shebaitship" Supreme Court rules that Travancore royal family has control over Temple

The Bench held that the death of the King of Travancore, who signed the covenant, does not affect Shebaitship (management and maintenance of the idol) of the Travancore royal family.

Debayan Roy

The Supreme Court today upheld the right of the Travancore royal family to management and control of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala.

The order was passed by a Bench of Justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra.

The verdict was on the dispute on whether the control of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala will vest with the state government or the Travancore royal family.

 UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra
UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra

Today, the Bench held that the death of the King of Travancore, who signed the covenant, does not affect Shebaitship (management and maintenance of the idol) of the Travancore royal family. The Court ruled,

We hold that the death of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma who had signed the Covenant, would not in any way affect the Shebaitship of the Temple held by the royal family of Travancore; that after such death, the Shebaitship must devolve in accordance with the applicable law and custom upon his successor; that the expression “Ruler of Travancore” as appearing in Chapter III of Part I of the TC Act must include his natural successors according to law and custom; and that the Shebaitship did not lapse in favour of the State by principle of escheat

reads the SC verdict

"We allow the appeal of the royal family of Travancore. Death does not effect Shebaitship of the Travancore Family."

Supreme Court

The Court thus gave the nod for the constitution of an administrative committee, which will manage the affairs of the Temple. The District judge of Thiruvananthapuram will be the Chairperson of this committee.

It was further specified that all members of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple committee will be Hindus.

The Temple was controlled by a trust headed by the Travancore royal family until April 2014, when the Supreme Court by an interim order, directed its management to be taken care of by a four-member administrative committee headed by a district judge.

The Bench today held that this interim arrangement would continue until the committee is constituted.

On the question of 'Vault B' of the Temple should be opened, the Court stated that the same would be decided by the committee.

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