Supreme Court. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Thiruvananthapuram, July 13 : The Travancore royal family expressed happiness over the Supreme Court order on Monday upholding its rights in the administration of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple here.

Aswathy Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bhai, member of the Travancore royal family, described the verdict as a blessing from Lord Padmanabha. "We are really happy at the Supreme Court's ruling. We thank people across the world who prayed for this moment," the princess said.

A Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra, set aside the 2011 verdict of the Kerala High Court, which had directed the state government to form a trust to manage the temple's administration.

The High Court had said the Travancore royal family's rights ended after the death in 1991 of the last ruler, who had signed the covenant. The top court said the rights of the royal family over the deity did exist and would not cease with the death of ruler.

The Supreme Court said the administrative committee would manage the temple affairs and the Thiruvananthapuram district judge be the committee's chairperson.

While the LDF government in Kerala was guarded in its response, the opposition parties welcomed the development.

Minister for Dewaswoms Kadakampally Surendran said, "the government welcomes the Supreme Court verdict and it's the duty of the government to implement it." Welcoming the verdict, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said, "The Congress has always been for maintaining status quo at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and hope the state government is not going to appeal the verdict." Kerala BJP chief K. Surendran said, "Justice has been delivered to the Travancore royal family in their fight over Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. This is a moment of joy for the BJP and all other Hindu organisations that stood for the cause." The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple hit headlines as it was discovered that its vaults contained precious stones and gold worth lakhs of crores of rupees, making it one of the richest temples in the world.

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