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'How To Protect The Ornaments In Sabarimala Temple': SC Seeks Kerala Govt.'s Response

Mehal Jain
5 Feb 2020 12:33 PM GMT
How To Protect The Ornaments In Sabarimala Temple:  SC Seeks Kerala Govt.s Response
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Even as a 9-judge bench of the Supreme Court readies itself to consider the interplay of religion and other fundamental rights in, inter alia, the Sabarimala Temple Entry case, another three-judge bench headed by Justice N. V. Ramana is seized of the matter of the ownership and custody of Lord Ayappa's ornaments.The bench was hearing an appeal by the senior most Pandalam family member Revathi...

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Even as a 9-judge bench of the Supreme Court readies itself to consider the interplay of religion and other fundamental rights in, inter alia, the Sabarimala Temple Entry case, another three-judge bench headed by Justice N. V. Ramana is seized of the matter of the ownership and custody of Lord Ayappa's ornaments.

The bench was hearing an appeal by the senior most Pandalam family member Revathi Nal P. Ramavarama Raja in 2011 on the issue of a separate committee for the temple's administration.
"At the moment, the ornaments are protected?", asked Justice Ramana from Senior Advocate K. Radhakrishnan, for the appellants.
"Yes, at the moment they are. There is an inventory, a strong room which is locked. And the police is also there...they are the connection between the temple and the royal family", replied the Senior Counsel.
"The temple could appoint a senior officer in whose custody the ornaments could be? You can't misappropriate them, of course...they belong to the Lord", observed Justice Ramana.
"Yes...but they belong to the royal family, they are not the ornaments of the temple...one branch of the family is saying they belong to them and not to the other sect. We are saying they are the property of the whole family and not of any particular clan", submitted Mr. Radhakrishnan, praying for the custody to be with the senior members of the family.
"Once the were given to the lord, where is the question of that? These are old people. After some years, we don't know what happens. Look at this litigation. Why should we let valuable ornaments be in the hands of somebody?', asked the judge.
"It has been the practice that once a year, the Raja gives the ornaments to be worn for the 'Devaprashnam'...", contended Mr. Radhakrishnan.
"We respect these practices. We don't want to disturb any practice. But where is the problem in having a responsible officer in custody of the ornaments? They were given to the Lord long back. Ultimately, they have to be given to Him! On the auspicious day, they are taken from the Raja and decorated and then given back?...custody is the only issue. We are not on ownership, but appropriation. You have said they will be appropriated by the president, secretary etc (of the Pandalam palace managing committee, who belong to the other sect of the Royal family)?", questioned Justice Ramana.
Even as Mr. Radhakrishnan refused that it was the claim that the ornaments would be misappropriated, the bench asked Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta, for the state of Kerala, to get instructions on how to protect the ornaments and if they could be placed in the government treasury.


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