Today, The Subpreme Court of India restrained the seven member committee from opening vaults of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
A bench of justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik asked the petitioner Raja Marthanda Varma, erstwhile Prince of Travancore, and the Kerala government to come out with appropriate suggestions for ensuring sanctity and security of the ancient temple which has come to the limelight following discovery of the huge wealth.
The apex court while restraining the opening of vault (B) and also the vault (A) posted the matter for further hearing on next Thursday.
During the arguments, senior counsel KK Venogopal, appearing for the erstwhile prince, clarified that the temple was a public property and no member of the royal family claims any ownership or right over the huge property.
“The royal family is not claiming any ownership. It is a public temple. It is not claiming any ownership of property. No part of it belongs to any member of the family. The property belongs to Lord Padmanabhaswamy,” he told the bench.
The royal family which is the trustee of the temple has challenged the Kerala government’s decision to take over the administration of the temple which was earlier upheld by the Kerala high court.
During Friday’s arguments, the bench observed that utmost security should be ensured in and around the temple in view of the discovery of the huge wealth.
Emphasizing on security measures, the bench observed, “Instead of having their eyes on the deity or sanctum sanctorum, the eyes of many people will now be on these kallara (vaults).”
Counsel Venugopal also clarified that the value of the treasure reportedly discovered from the temple was not authentic as they were mere media speculations.
“So they were valuation by the media. They are newspaper valuations,” the bench remarked.
The apex court, during the last hearing on July 6, had directed videography of the ongoing unearthing of treasure trove inside the chambers of the temple.
The bench had proposed the appointment of a curator of a museum to preserve the treasure being unearthed from the centuries-old temple in Kerala.
The treasures found from cellars of the temple are estimated to be around Rs 1 lakh crore. There are claims that suggest the actual worth of the assets could well be above Rs 5 lakh crore. The claim was made by former chief secretary of Kerala, CP Nair. He said that the real market value of the treasure could be much higher than reported in the media making it easily the richest temple in the world.
The court had also barred the observer, supervising the unearthing of the temple’s treasure, from giving any interview of the process, saying the matter is related to the state.
Zee news reported that the value of the Ancient offerings made to the lord Padmanabhaswamy may be in excess of Rs.500000 crore ( USD$ 100 Billion).