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1. Arguments in the #PadmanabhaswamyTemple case resumed before Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra
2. Mr. Krishnan Venugopal is reading out portions from the impugned judgement of the Kerala High Court
3. Mr. Venugopal is drawing attention to the fundamental error in the judgement of the Kerala High Court which forms the basis of its findings and directions.
4. Mr. Venugopal points out that the HC erred fundamentally in appreciating the nature of the relationship between the Travancore Family and the Temple
5. Mr. Venugopal submits that the Kerala High Court erred in assuming that the source of the Travancore Family's role in the Temple is the TCHRI Act 1950, ignoring the history of the Temple and the Covenant entered into by Travancore and Cochin with the Indian Union.
6. Mr. Venugopal is pointing out to Article VIII of Covenant to establish that one of the fundamental premises of accession was assurance given to erstwhile Ruler of Travancore that he & his successors shall continue to retain their position in #PadmanabhaswamyTemple.
7. Mr. Venugopal submits that even the TCHRI Act 1950 recognises the pre-existing relationship between the Travancore Family and the #PadmanabhaswamyTemple.
8. Mr. Venugopal is reading out Articles 295 and 296 of the Constitution.
9. Mr. Venugopal is interpreting Article 366(22) of the Constitution and the effect of the 26th amendment of the Constitution on the Article
10. Mr. Venugopal submits that the position of the Travancore Family in relation to the #PadmanabhaswamyTemple is that of a customary shebait.
11. Mr. Venugopal submits that if the TCHRI Act 1950 recognises the pre-existing relationship of the Travancore Family with the Temple, it can merely regulate the relationship but not end it.
12. Mr. Venugopal is walking the Court through the provisions of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions (TCHRI) Act 1950
13. Mr. Venugopal is now placing reliance on judgements to support his position
14. Arguments will continue post lunch.
15. Mr. Krishnan Venugopal commences arguments post lunch by reading out extracts from the book Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple written by Princess Aswathi Thirunal to narrate the history of #PadmanabhaswamyTemple
16. Mr. Venugopal submits that the erstwhile Ruler of Travancore had even objected to signing the accession instrument under any other name other than the Padmanabha Dasa. He was convinced by Mr. V. P. Menon to agree to the use of Ruler of Travancore.
17. Mr. Venugopal submits that the position of the Travancore Family is that of a royal shebait and is explaining the concept of a Shebait
18. Mr. Venugopal submits that the Travancore Family does not wish to claim personal ownership of even one grain of sand of the Temple. It's sole interest is in ensuring that the Temple is run in accordance with the traditions of the Temple.
19. Mr. Venugopal submits that hereditary shebaitship is a matter of custom and cannot be interfered with by the law.
20. Mr. Venugopal submits that the 26th amendment does not impact the words "Ruler of Travancore" as used in the TCHRI Act 1950.
21. Mr. Venugopal has concluded his arguments. Mr. Arvind Datar commences his arguments
22. Mr. Datar specifies the differences in definition of ruler in articles 366(22) and 363 2(b) of the constitution.
23. Arguments concluded for the day. Bench will continue to hear the matter tomorrow
Tweet 1- Mr. Datar resumed his submissions today. He submitted that what was filed before the Kerala High Court was in the nature of a Writ Petition and yet the High Court treated as a PIL
2- Mr. Datar questioned the locus of the Petitioner to question the rights of the Travancore Family when in fact he was a tenant.
3- Mr. Datar then proceeded to make submissions with respect to the limited effect of the 26th amendment on the abolition of privy purses
4 - Mr. Datar submitted that the 26th amendment did not and cannot be interpreted to take away the rights of the Travancore Family with respect to the Temple
5 - Mr. Datar submitted that the definition of Ruler under Article 366(22) was limited in its application to Article 363A, and it was definition under Article 363(2)(b) that applied to the issue at hand.
6- Mr. Datar also drew attention to continued applicability of exemptions available to the erstwhile Rulers of Princely States under the Wealth Tax Act and the Income Tax Act to point out that the 26th amendment had not done away with any of those exemptions.
7- Mr. Datar also pointed out that Article 296 which applies to escheat does not apply to the case at hand since its intent is different.
8. Mr. Datar submitted pursuant to the 26th amendment, no amendments were effected to the TCHRI Act1950 to take away Travancore Family's right to administer the #PadmanabhaswamyTemple. This proves that the scope of the 26th amdt was limited & narrow i.e. Abolition of privy purses
9. Mr. Datar also submitted that the special treatment of #PadmanabhaswamyTemple was evident from Article VIII of Covenant of Merger between Travancore and Cochin States and the Indian Union. He submitted that Sections 18-23 of the TCHRI Act have to be understood in this backdrop
10. Mr. Datar submitted that no one had challenged the continued control of the Travancore Family over the Temple either after the 26th amendment or even after the demise of the last Ruler.
11. Mr. Datar placed reliance on Madhav Rao Scindia judgement and other judgments to advance his submissions.
12. Mr. Datar also submitted that the Amicus's report had been objected to primarily because there were recommendations with respect to the rituals to be conducted in the Temple which went beyond the mandate of the Amicus.
13. To this, Justice Indu Malhotra observed that it not for the Amicus or the Court to interfere with the religious practice of the Temple since it was beyond the pale of their adjudication.
14. The Bench also observed that it was concerned solely with the legal issues which arise for the Court's consideration and would not be getting into other issues.
15. Mr. Datar concluded his submissions by reading out portions from Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel's speech on how a bloodless revolution was possible owing to the cooperation of the erstwhile Rulers in the creation of India.
16. After Mr. Datar, Mr. M.K.Menon argued on behalf of Ms. Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi on the interpretation of Ruler.
17. After Mr. Menon, Mr. @jsaideepak commenced submissions on behalf of @People4Dharma and Shri M. V. Soundararajan.
18. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that he would repeat what was already argued by Mr. Krishnan Venugopal and Mr. Arvind Datar.
19- At this point, the Counsel for the State Government Mr. Jaideep Gupta objected that the locus of the entities being represented by Mr. @jsaideepak was unclear.
20- Mr. @jsaideepak pointed out that he represented the former Chief Priest of the Chilkur Balaji Temple, Mr. M. V. Soundararajan, who is a leading member of the Vaishnavaite community as well as a leading contributor to the Temple Protection movement.
21- Mr. @jsaideepak pointed that the intervention application of Mr. M. V. Soundararajan was number I. A. No. 2/2011. He further submitted that he represents @People4Dharma which comprises devotees of Shri Padmanabhaswamy and has assisted the Court in the Sabarimala Matter.
22- The Bench asked Mr. @jsaideepak to continue with his submissions. Mr. @jsaideepak started by placing reliance on Kerala Mahatmyam to establish the centrality of the relationship between the Travancore Family and the Temple.
23- Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that the relationship between the Travancore Family and the Temple went beyond the modern times, which is mistakenly referred to as mythology instead of itihasa or Purana.
24- Mr. @jsaideepak submitted the directions of the Kerala High Court with respect to the alternative administrative structure has the result of rewriting the history of the Temple
25- Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that in appreciating the history of the Temple, it must be borne in mind that the state of Kerala is effectively a Parashurama Kshetram and the history of the Temple would bear out this nexus.
26- The Bench was to rise for the day and enquired from Mr. @jsaideepak how much time he would need to make his submissions. Mr. @jsaideepak submitted that he would need 30 minutes to make his submissions. Mr. @jsaideepak will continue on Tuesday.
*he would not repeat
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