The Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram has expressed its inability to pay security and maintenance dues of the Kerala government to the tune of Rs 11.7 crore, citing COVID-19 pandemic.
The temporary administrative committee, set up by the Supreme Court (SC), asked the court on Friday (February 12) to give more time to make the payment.
The famous Vishnu temple, like all other temples across the country, was closed during the lockdown in March. It re-opened on August 26, but had to be temporarily closed in October after 12 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.
The SC had constituted the committee in July 2020 to look after temple matters till arrangements are made by the former royal family of Travancore.
A two-judge bench of Justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra refused to pass an order and said it will wait for the Kerala government to respond to the request.
Last July, the SC had set aside a Kerala High Court decision and upheld the right of the royal family to manage the temple. The apex court ruled that Kerala would first pay all expenses related to security and maintenance of the temple, which would then be reimbursed by the temple committee.
On opening the secret vault inside the temple, the apex court ruled that it is the prerogative of the royal family. The royal family of Travancore had reasoned in court that the opening of the vault would bring misfortune because of a curse.