New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala is in great financial stress and the offerings are not sufficient to meet the expenses, its Administrative Committee told the Supreme Court on Friday while seeking an audit of the temple-related Trust run by the Travancore royal family.

All temples in Kerala are closed and while this temple's monthly expenses are Rs 1.25 crore, "we are able to hardly get 60-70 lakh rupees. Therefore, we have sought certain directions", senior advocate R Basant, appearing for the Committee, told a bench headed by Justice U U Lalit.

The temple is in great financial stress and "we are not able to function", Basant said, alleging that the Trust is trying to avoid its obligation by not making their record available for audit.

The Trust has 2.87 crore in cash and 1.95 crore in assets as per the 2013 auditors' report and that is why the entire thing has to be gone into to find out how much money it has, he said.

The trust is constituted as per court's order and it must contribute to the temple, Basant told the bench, also comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the Trust, argued that it is a public Trust made by the Royal family and has no role in administration.

The Trust was just mentioned by the Amicus Curiae in the case, not as part of the petition, he said.

"The Trust was constituted only to oversee the pujas and rituals of the Temple involving the family, with no role in the administration. It came into picture before the Supreme Court only after the amicus curiae demanded that the accounts of the trust also should be audited," he said, adding that it need not be audited as it is separate from the temple.

At the outset, the top court said it has already decided the matter and for the last 9-10 years it has been passing interim orders.

"The administrative committee has been functioning under the orders of this court. Let it continue in a different format and let them complete the exercise so far as auditing is concerned .

"We are not here to monitor day to day affairs of the temple. That is not a domain in which we are supposed to be functioning. If at all, there are some directions to be passed, you can approach the concerned authorities," the bench said.

Datar submitted that the Trust is a public trust started by the ruler and its objects are there inside the temple.

"Even the initial petitions never mentioned trust. The affairs were never the matter of litigation. We are an independent trust, and have our own trustees subject to our income tax regulations.

"We don't want the administrative committee to have a supervisory role over our trust. We will perform our job as a trust and if we don't perform we will lose our benefits under law. We were never part of the temple," Datar said.

The top court, after hearing the submissions, reserved its order on the application filed by the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust to exclude it from the audit of 25 years ordered by the court last year.

The top court had earlier set aside the 2011 verdict of the Kerala High Court which had directed the state government to set up a trust to take control of management and assets of the historic temple.

It had delivered the verdict on a batch of appeals, including the one filed by the legal representatives of the Travancore royal family, challenging the January 31, 2011 verdict of the high court in the matter.

The apex court upheld the rights of the Travancore royal family in the administration of the temple, considered one of the richest temples in the country.

It had directed the Administrative Committee to order an audit of the temple's income and expenses for the past 25 years, as suggested by amicus curiae senior advocate Gopal Subramanium.

The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour in granite, was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royal House, which had ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before integration of the princely state with the Indian Union in 1947.

The controversy over the administration and management of the historic temple was pending in the apex court for the last nine years in the wake of charges of alleged financial irregularities.

Even after India''s independence, the temple continued to be governed by a trust controlled by the erstwhile royal family for whom Lord Padmanabha (Vishnu) is their family deity.

The high court had directed the state government to take steps to set up a body or trust to take control of the temple, its assets and management and to run the temple in accordance with the traditions.

The top court was in July 2017 told by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, that ''kallara'' (vault) B of the temple should be opened as it was closed "on the apprehension that there is some mystical energy".