New Delhi: An old video of retired Supreme Court Justice Indu Malhotra doing the rounds on social media shows her saying that “Communists governments have taken over Hindu temples”.
Referring to the Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala in the video, she can be heard saying that she, along with Justice U.U. Lalit, had halted such takeovers by the government, such as in Kerala, where the state government, she alleged, take over temples “for revenue”, and specifically Hindu temples. She added that she won’t allow it.
Non-representative, un-diversified and exclusionary social composition of the SC and HC Judges is at the core of the fault-lines in the Indian Judiciary.
Deeply rotten, infested #CastiestCollegium
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Shot outside the Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Malhotra is seen in the video referring to the 2020 Supreme Court judgment where the court upheld the right of the Travancore royal family to manage and control the temple after the death of the king of Travancore.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by the royal family of Travancore, who had challenged a 2011 Kerala high court judgment that had given the maintenance rights to the Kerala government.
A two-judge Supreme Court bench made up of Justice Lalit and Malhotra had delivered the verdict on the almost decade-long management dispute over the temple. The court had observed that the death of the last Maharaja of Travancore in no way could affect the shebaitship (management) of the temple held by the royal family.
Kerala is currently ruled by the Left Democratic Front government, an alliance of left-wing parties in Kerala. The Kerala state government had accepted the verdict and not appealed against it.
The first woman advocate to be elevated as a judge, Malhotra was also the sole dissenter in the Sabarimala temple entry case where, amid the five bench jury, she had favoured the protection of religious interests instead of allowing women inside the temple, saying that hearing PILs challenging religious practices affects India’s secular fabric. She retired on 31 March, 2021.
(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)