Guruvayur Temple's ₹ 5 Crores To Remain With CMDRF After Supreme Court Orders Status Quo
The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on the appeal filed by the Managing Committee of the Guruvayur Devaswom that administers the famous Guruvayur Temple of Kerala against the decision of the Kerala High Court holding that the transfer of Rs.5 Crores from the Temple's funds to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) is illegal.
The Bench of Chief Justice U. U. Lalit, Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat passed the order of status quo while issuing notice on the appeal filed by Temple Management in December, 2021.
The appeal was filed against the Judgment of a Full Bench of the Kerala High Court that held that the state authorities that are administering the Temple have no authority to part with any money belonging to the temple.
"All the properties, including movable and immovable properties and money, dedicated to or endowed in the name of Lord Guruvayurappan or any property acquired in any manner by the Guruvayur Devaswom shall vest in the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan, consecrated in Sree Krishna Temple, Guruvayur", the Full Bench of the High Court had held on a reference by a Division Bench.
The Full Bench had also held that the Guruvayur Devaswom Act,1978 does not authorize any authority "to contribute or part with or give away in any manner any amount from the funds belonging to Guruvayur Devaswom, either to C.M.D.R.F or to any other Governmental agency".
The Full Bench had, however, not passed any direction to return the money that had been given to the CMDRF but had sent the matters back to the Division Bench to decide them in accordance with the law laid down by the Full Bench. The writ petitions before the Division Bench are still pending.
The petition filed by the Government controlled temple to review the decision of the Full Bench was also dismissed by the Full Bench in May, 2022.
One of the arguments of the state in the Review Petition was that the Government cannot be compelled to refund the amounts voluntarily donated to the account of CMDRF with interest as noticed in the order of reference. However, the Full Bench held, "We notice that there is no such direction, issued by the Full Bench and the Full Bench has only answered the question with regard to the power of the G.D.M.C. to make the donation to the C.M.D.R.F. Moreover, we also notice that the said arguments raised by the learned Special Government Pleader does not find a place in the pleadings raised in the review petition. We, therefore, find it unnecessary to consider the said contention".
The Temple administration had contended in their appeal before the Supreme Court that they have the authority to incur expenditure for secular activities and to promote cultural tenets and the philosophy associated with the temple.