In a major victory for the Travancore royal family, the Supreme Court on Monday said the family still has the shebait right over Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Pronouncing its verdict on the dispute over management of the historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, the Supreme Court said that "death will not affect the rights of shebaitship of the family over the deity".

The top court set aside the 2011 verdict of Kerala High Court which had ordered the state government to set up a trust and take control of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and run it according to the tradtions.

The Travancore royal family had challenged the Kerala High Court verdict in the Supreme Court. A bench of Justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra of the top court had on April 10 last year reserved its judgement on the pleas challenging the January 31, 2011 verdict of the Kerala High Court in the matter.

The apex court had on May 2, 2011 stayed the high court's direction regarding taking over of the assets and management of the temple. The top court had also directed that there shall be a detailed inventory of the articles, valuables, ornaments in Kallaras (vaults).

On July 8, 2011, the apex court had said that "opening of kallara 'B' is to be kept in abeyance till further orders". In July 2017, the apex court had said it would examine the claims that one of the vaults the temple contained extraordinary treasure with "mystical" energy.

The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour in granite, was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royal House which had ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before integration of the princely state with the Indian Union in 1947. Even after India's independence, the temple continued to be governed by a trust controlled by the erstwhile royal family for whom Lord Padmanabha (Vishnu) is their family deity.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma