The Supreme Court on Friday (7 February) ordered for the preparation of an inventory of the sacred jewellery that adorns Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala temple and appointed retired Kerala High Court judge C N Ramachandran Nair to supervise the work.
Justice Nair will also appoint the person to prepare the inventory, a bench headed by Justice NV Ramana said.
The court had earlier sought steps to ensure the security of the jewellery kept at erstwhile Pandalam royal family's palace.
The top court asked for the inventory on the advice of Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Kerala government, after he cited the example of an inventory done on Padmanabhaswamy treasure to ensure the jewellery was not replaced by fake one.
"The jewellery has to be safe even in custody," the court observed.
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday (5 February) asked the Kerala government to suggest steps to protect the sacred ornaments at the Sabarimala temple.
The court had noted a dispute between two branches of the erstwhile royal family, which is the custodian of the ornaments.
Raja Raja Varma, a member of the royal family, had moved an application for impleading in the matter and sought directions to enable senior family members to access the jewellery, kept in the custody of 'Pandalam Kottara Nirvahaka Sangham' secretary. He had expressed the fear that the ornaments could be misappropriated.
Senior advocate K Radhakrishnan, representing Varma, had told the court that the sacred ornaments were in family's custody in the palace and these were brought out once a year for Lord Ayyappa.
The court then asked why should ornaments to allowed to be kept in private custody, and also who all had access to the strong room's keys.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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