‘Can’t Pay 11.7 Cr to State Due to Covid’: Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The committee formed to manage temple affairs said that the donations have been affected due to the pandemic.
A temporary administrative committee told the Supreme Court on Friday, 12 February that due to the COVID-19 impact, Padmanabhaswamy Temple is unable to pay ₹ 11.7 crore to the Kerala government for the expenses it incurred for security and maintenance-related work reported NDTV.
In July last year, two committees were formed by the court to manage temple affairs till arrangements were made by the former royal family of Travancore. The committee told NDTV that the donations have been affected due to the pandemic. It also said that it sought additional time to repay the amount.
Adding that all its previous orders in the case had been followed, the court further said that it would not pass an order at this time. "Let the (Kerala) government consider the request," the top court was quoted as saying by NDTV.
A two-judge bench of Justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra heard the case.
While upholding the right of the royal family to manage the temple, the court in July last year had set aside a Kerala High Court verdict and said that the state would initially pay all expenses related to the security and maintenance of the temple, and that the temple would later reimburse it.
As per NDTV, the court left it to the former royal family to decide on the opening of a secret vault that has been shut for years. Reportedly, the family had argued that the opening of the vault – called "Kallara" in Malayalam – would bring misfortune due to a curse.
‘An Architectural Splendour’ Built by Travancore Royal House
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 rebuilt the sprawling temple in its present form in the 18th Century.
The temple re-opened on 26 August with certain restrictions after it had been shut down for public due to Covid-19 lockdown in March. However, it was temporarily shut again in October after 12 staff members, including 10 priests, tested positive for coronavirus reported NDTV.
Along with following the standard Covid protocols like wearing face masks, using hand sanitisers and maintaining social distance, the temple has also restricted devotees visit per day.
Devotees are also not allowed to touch the idol or the walls of the temple.
Kerala has over 64,000 active COVID cases in the country and has reported nearly 4,000 deaths so far.
(With inputs from NDTV)
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