The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it cannot continue to monitor the administration of Thiruvananthapuram's historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, but will examine whether to open one of the vaults of temple, which is claimed to be containing extraordinary treasure with "mystical" energy.
A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and D.Y. Chandrachud said the issue of whether to open vault 'B' of the temple would be dealt with later.
Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, said that "Kallara" (vault) B of the temple should be opened, as it was closed on the apprehension that there is some mystical energy.
Counsel said: "The experts say Kallara B should be opened because it has been opened earlier also. Kallara B may have more than one chamber...nothing but useless suspicion is generated about what is there in Kallara B."
The court passed several directions relating to functioning of the temple, security of the temple's treasures, auditing of accounts and repair of the deity, among others, as suggested by the amicus curiae.
On security of the temple, the bench said current security arrangements in place should be "allowed to be continued but with a rider that the entire responsibility of security of the temple will be with the in-charge holding the responsibility of security".
On auditing the temple's accounts, the bench said there should be a government-appointed person to see how the expenses were incurred.
The court said: "We request the State of Kerala to nominate a panel of three officials from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service to oversee the audited accounts of temple and to submit quarterly reports to the administrative committee for implementation of such suggestions as given in the report."
The repair work of the deity should be carried out by the experts, said the bench.
The bench also appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan as chairman of the selection committee which was constituted for works, including in the "Sreekovil" (sanctum sanctorum).
The court permitted the committee to choose the most suitable persons at the best competitive prices for the work, subject to ratification by the administrative committee.
The controversy over the administration and management of the historic temple has been pending before the Supreme Court for the last few years in the wake of charges of financial irregularities.