Woman judge takes over as administrator of Padmanabhaswamy temple

The principal additional sessions judge of Thiruvananthapuram, K P Indira, has taken over as the head of the administration of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple as directed by the Supreme Court.

The SC's issued an interim order on Thursday directing the temple administration and the state government that the administration of the temple be handed over to an independent panel headed by sitting judge.

The SC order follows the recommendations of amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam, who had sought an overhaul of the functioning of the temple.

The amicus also reiterated on Saturday that the royal family should stay away from the administration of the temple.

''I am fully satisfied with the administration panel set up by the Supreme Court. There is nothing which suggests new executive officer (N K) Satish Kumar cannot be trusted. Those suggested by Kerala lacked experience,'' said Subramaniam.

The Supreme Court in its order had stated that if the district judge was not a Hindu, the administration should be handed over to the next senior-most judge. Accordingly, district judge Sunil P Thomas on Friday asked additional sessions judge Indira to take over charge of the temple administration.

Indira offered prayers at the temple Friday evening and took charge Saturday.

A bench comprising the new Chief Justice RM Lodha and Justice AK Patnaik also asked former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai to undertake the audit of the temple accounts and properties for the past quarter of a century.

The court also appointed senior Indian Administrative Service officer and former administrator of the Guruvayur temple KN Satish as the executive officer of the temple.

Satish is, however, expected to take charge only next month as he is currently on election duty in Andhra Pradesh.

The temple administration will be overseen by a five-member committee comprising the additional sessions judge, the temple's tantri and chief nambi and two more members, of which one will be appointed in consultation with the state government and one would be selected by Indira.