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Friday, July 19, 2024

Theft in Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple – An Example Of Government Intervention’s Results

Following the Supreme Court’s order on the appointment of EO at the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Gopal Subramaniam currently acting as Amicus Curiae in the case filed a report on 14 June 2017 over that matter. While we have been dissecting the so called neutral standards exhibited by the Amicus curiae in this case through our series dissecting his final report filed in 2014, this report has brought new revelations.

The Amicus Curiae in this report recommends Sri V Ratheesan for the position of Executive Officer at Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple for he seems to have the nod of both the parties involved in the case as directed by the court in its order dated 09.05.2017. In addition to this he keeps three recommendations wherein he asks for the EO to be included as the Member secretary of the Administrative Committee appointed by the court. He states this as a move to avoid the conflict which took place during the tenure of the outgoing EO.

He then states the missing of 8 diamonds which formed a part of Lord’s namam (tilakam). Further describing this event in points 27, 29 and 30 of his report he writes –

“In a report dated 31.05.2017, which was requested by the Amicus Curiae, the Executive Officer has disclosed that precious stones (8 diamonds) have been lost. He has also reported that an FIR was registered on 06.08.2016… When the records were produced before the Amicus Curiae, it was noted that the fact of missing diamonds is recorded on 20.08.2015, in the report from the Nambi dated 11.03.2016, and in the F.I.R. dated 06.08.2016. The Amicus regrets that the Administrative Committee used vague expressions and referred to media reports, suggesting that they may not have been lost but damaged, while the Temple records clearly show that these were eight diamonds from the Namam (tilakam) of the Lord and were missing… The Amicus notes that the Mudalpadi register first records missing diamonds on 20.08.2015. Second, the report of the Nambi dated 11.03.2016 was essentially to report missing diamonds and not ‘repair of damaged diamonds’ as alluded to in the Chairperson’s report. There are no records to show that the Administrative Committee even knew about the ‘damaged diamonds’ and formed a bona fide belief that the Executive Officer effected repairs to ornaments. ”

From this it is noted that while the missing of the diamonds have been recorded in the Mudalpadi register 2015, which was again reiterated by the Nambi in his report dated 11.03.2016. But the chairperson of the administrative committee instead of conducting an investigation on the missing treasures of the temple misunderstood it to be damaged and also did not make any efforts to know about the repair work of the damaged ornaments. As a result, the process of filing an FIR for investigating the robbery was delayed by about a year. While one is tempted to lay the blame of these missing diamonds on the careless attitude shown by the administrative committee with IAS officers and other dignitaries appointed by the Supreme Court with the assistance of the government of Kerala, GS defends it by laying the blame on the traditional format of Mudalpadi register.

Accusing the format currently used in the register in point 26 of his report he writes –

“It is also clear that the system of record-keeping in the Mudalpadi’s register (even though in Malayalam) needs to be altered. To this effect, it is necessary that the District Judge and the new Executive Officer may make suitable recommendations for a format which would correctly reflect the status and valuation of the ornaments which are being handled exclusively by the Nambis.”

Going by this statement if the Mudalpadi register is in a format which is not easily understandable by the people of the committee, one is tempted to wonder about the ignorance of the committee over this incident in its report dated 05.08.2016 after the filing of a police compliant over the missing diamonds which is quoted by GS in point 30 of his report wherein he writes –

“…The Administrative Committee, by 05.08.2016, should have clearly known from the records that the said diamonds were missing. In fact, the Administrative Committee ought to have noted that the entry is dated 20.08.2015. The sentence in the report that “at no point of time the Executive Officer has reported about the missing [valuables], if at all any, to the Administrative Committee” clearly did not state that eight diamonds were missing. While there is reference to the Police Complaint, the Complaint does not appear to have been seen by the Chairman of the Administrative Committee.”

This clearly shows that the diamonds have been stolen because of the mismanagement of the temple affairs by both EO and administrative committee, who were ignoring the findings of the register by their careless attitude. But one is also surprised to find the way the Amicus Curiae defends the committee by blaming the traditional format of the Muthalpadi register. It must be noted that the Amicus Curiae recommended the takeover of temple from the erstwhile Travancore Royal Family citing the presence of mismanagement which came to his notice as a rumor in his final report. So when mere rumors are enough for citing the presence of mismanagement and snatch the administration of the temple from the Royals who have been running the temple for centuries, shouldn’t the clear mismanagement of the temple treasures by the careless attitude shown by the committee lead to its dissolution?

After all an Amicus Curiae is expected to be impartial and neutral in the case he is assisting the court. But the Amicus Curiae seems to be interested in changing every tradition of the temple without the approval of stakeholders in order to defend the committee which was formed by his recommendation. The so called neutral standards maintained by the Amicus Curiae is a clear example of the system advocating the unjust takeover of the temples by the secular government leading to destruction of its sanctity and corruption.

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