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1. The #PadmanabhaswamyTemple case was taken up by Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra today for final hearing. The Bench has positively indicated that final arguments will commence today at the end of the board.
2. The Counsel for the State Government of Kerala and other Respondents wanted the issue of Kallara B (Vault B) of the Temple to be resolved before the commencement of final arguments.
3. Mr. Krishnan Venugopal, Counsel for Shri Marthanda Varma, drew attention to the order of July 4, 2017 wherein the Court had indicated that the issue of Vault B would be taken up after final arguments in the matter.
4. Mr. Krishnan Venugopal pointed out that the inner chamber of Vault B has never been opened due to religious reasons and must remain so.
5. The Bench accordingly observed that the issue of Vault B shall be taken up after all parties are heard. The matter will be taken up today after all other matters.
6. The Bench has taken up the #PadmanabhaswamyTemple case. Mr. Krishnan Venugopal has commenced arguments on behalf of the Appellant, Shri Marthanda Varma
7. Mr. Venugopal submits that he disagrees with the judgement of the Kerala High Court wherein the High Court held that Shri Marthanda Varma has no rights with respect to the Temple after the abolition of privy purses by the 26th amendment of the Constitution.
8. Mr. Venugopal is walking the Court through the history of the Temple and its origins to establish that every version of the history shows that the Temple was established by the King of Travancore.
9. Mr. Venugopal narrates the dedication of the erstwhile Princely State of Travancore to Lord Padmanabhaswamy in 1750 and proclaims that thenceforth he shall be known as Padmanabha Dasa i.e. Servant of Padmanabha.
10 Mr. Venugopal clarifies that even when the Devaswom Board was formed, the #PadmanabhaswamyTemple was directly governed by the King. Therefore, the High Court was wrong in assuming that all Temples fell under the Travancore Devaswom Board.
11. Mr. Venugopal narrates the sequences of events leading to the accession of the erstwhile Princely States of Travancore and Cochin to the Union of India.
12. Mr. Venugopal points out that the erstwhile King at the time of accession had highlighted the insistence of the King on retaining his position as Padmanabha Dasa with respect to the Temple given the special relationship between the Travancore Family and the Temple.
13. Mr. Venugopal draws attention to the recognition of the special relationship between the Travancore Family and the Temple in Covenant of Merger executed between the Princely States of Travancore and Cochin, and the Indian Union.
14. Mr. Venugopal submits that the Covenant forms the basis of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act 1950.
15. Mr. Venugopal points out that the Ruler of Travancore continued as the Rajpramukh of the merged Travancore-Cochin State.
16. Mr. Venugopal walks the Court through the role of the Travancore King in the construction of the Temple and the current role to make the point that neither the Covenant nor the 1950 Act is the source of the position of the Travancore Family.
17. Mr. Venugopal further states that both the Covenant and 1950 Act merely recognise the pre-existing position of the Family with respect to the Temple.
18. Hearing is over for today. Will continue tomorrow
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