The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is unable to pay Rs 11.7 crore to the Kerala authorities – to reimburse the state for safety and maintenance-related bills – due to the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic, a brief administrative committee informed the Supreme Court docket on Friday.
The committee, certainly one of two constituted by the courtroom in July final yr to handle temple affairs until preparations are made by the previous royal household of Travancore, stated donations had been affected due to the pandemic, and sought extra time to pay the quantity.
The courtroom stated it might not cross an order presently. “Let the (Kerala) authorities contemplate the request,” the highest courtroom stated, including that each one its earlier orders within the case had been adopted.
Relating to the audit of temple accounts, the courtroom stated it take it up in mid-September.
A two-judge bench of Justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra heard the case.
In July final yr the courtroom – which put aside a Kerala Excessive Court docket verdict and upheld the right of the royal family to manage the temple – stated the state would initially pay all bills associated to the safety and upkeep of the temple, and that this may later be reimbursed.
The courtroom additionally left it to the previous royal household to resolve on the opening of a secret vault that has been shut for years. The household had argued that the opening of the vault – known as “Kallara” in Malayalam – would convey misfortune due to a curse.
The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour in granite, was rebuilt in its current type within the 18th century by the Travancore Royal Home which had dominated southern Kerala and a few adjoining elements of Tamil Nadu earlier than integration of the princely state with the Indian Union in 1947.
After remaining closed to the general public because the Covid lockdown in March, the temple re-opened on August 26, albeit with sure restrictions. It was briefly shut once more in October after 12 employees members, together with 10 priests, tested positive for coronavirus.
Along with commonplace Covid protocols – sporting of face masks, use of hand sanitisers and sustaining social distance – the temple has additionally restricted devotees allowed per day. Devotees are additionally not allowed to the touch the idol, partitions or some other surfaces.
Kerala has probably the most variety of energetic Covid circumstances within the nation – over 64,000 – and has reported almost 4,000 deaths associated to the virus, thus far.