Supreme Court hands over temple to royal family

Supreme Court hands over temple to royal family
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Supreme Court hands over temple to royal family 

Highlights

The much contentious issue before the Supreme Court has been decided in favour of the legal heirs of the former ruler of Thiruvananthapuram (Travancore)and asked the royal family to manage the affairs of the temple. Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple has become an enigma due to its riches

The much contentious issue before the Supreme Court has been decided in favour of the legal heirs of the former ruler of Thiruvananthapuram (Travancore)and asked the royal family to manage the affairs of the temple. Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple has become an enigma due to its riches. It is considered as one of the richest holy places in the world.

The present structure was built in the 18th century by the then Travancore Maharaja, Marthanda Varma. Since independence, the temple had been controlled by the royal family until 1991, when the last ruler of the Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, passed away. Subsequently, the Kerala government allowed the management of the temple to be taken over by the younger brother, Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma. In 2011, the Kerala High Court ruled that the royal family cannot exert its 'schebait' rights. Now, the apex court has overturned the ruling of the Kerala High Court. In 2017, the apex court constituted a seven-member panel headed by amicus curiae Gopal Subramanian to assess the value of the treasure trove inside several vaults which had not been opened for over 130 years. The vault A itself contained the treasure to the tune of around 1 lakh crore!! It is needless to say that this verdict has buoyed up the enthusiasm of Hindutva forces.

Certificate U/S 65B(4) Evidence Act mandatory: SC

Answering a reference on the question 'Is the requirement of certificate u/s 65B(4) of Evidence Act mandatory for production of electronic evidence?', a bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice R F Nariman, S Ravindra Bhat and V Rama Subramaniam replied in affirmative and observed that if a defective certificate is given or despite the demand, it is not given by the concerned person, the trial judge must summon the person/persons and require that such certificate be given by him/them. However, the Court added that in appropriate cases, the trial court may allow the prosecution to produce such a certificate at a later point of time.

Service by WhatsApp, e-mail, fax, etc The Supreme Court has permitted service of summons, notices, etc; through WhatsApp, e-mail, fax and other digital modes. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde observed that in the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation, it is not feasible for the legal fraternity to visit post offices for sending notices; summons and pleadings on the other side and therefore such documents can be sent through these digital media. The bench clarified that two blue ticks would convey that the receiver has seen the notice and that would be sufficient proof of service.

Indeed, this is a very helpful and practical step taken by the apex court which will not only speed up the service of the essential documents but also minimise the time, money and energy of the lawyers.

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