Any country has the right to protect and preserve its cultural property. In the 1970 convention of UNESCO, a formal announcement was also made in this regard. This is even more important for countries like India.
Image Credit source: ANI
In April 1947, before the country got independence, a Antiquities Act Was passed whose purpose was that no antiquities can be exported without a license. This arrangement was made to prevent smuggling of items of mythological, historical and cultural importance. But in 2019, an Interpol report said that illegal international trade in cultural goods and related crimes is increasing rapidly.
After this, in 1958, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act was enacted. At the same time, under the Antiquities and Art Fund Act, 1972, implemented on April 1, 1976, any coin, sculpture, painting, epigraph or other work of art or craftsmanship was defined in it. The purpose of all this was to provide protection to the cultural heritage of a country.
What are international agreements?
To prevent the illegal import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property of any country UNESCO The announcement was made in the 1970 convention of It was said in the declaration that it is necessary to protect the cultural property of every country. Illegal import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property is one of the main causes of impoverishment of cultural heritage.
then in 2000 United Nations General Assembly Whereas in 2015 and 2016 UN Security Council also expressed concern on this issue.
What does Indian law say?
UNESCO’s announcement becomes even more important for countries like India. Where the heritage is increasing the beauty of the museums of many countries of the world. In the last few years, pleasant results of Indian efforts have also been seen. In the year 2022, Australia had returned 29 ancient objects of importance to the Indian government.
Any article other than a building or cave, giving information about the science, art, craft, literature, religion, customs, morals or politics of a bygone era, which has existed for at least a hundred years, It has been said to be protected under the law. Item-67 of the Union List in India, Item-12 of the State List, while Item-40 of the Concurrent List of the Constitution is related to the country’s heritage.
How is ownership proved?
UNESCO The 1970 Declaration states that the requesting country shall, at its own cost, furnish necessary documents and other evidence in support of its claim for recovery and refund. Police should have a copy of the registered FIR to prove the ownership. Because generally the problem of missing antiquities in India is that in many cases FIR is not registered.
monuments launched in March 2007 and National Mission on Antiquities To help in the investigation, out of 16.70 lakh antiquities, 3.52 lakh antiquities were registered. According to a statement by the Ministry of Culture in Parliament in July 2022, this is a very small part of the total number of antiquities in the country. While the government’s estimate is around 58 lakhs.
There are three categories of antiquities
One – antiquities taken out of India before independence, two – antiquities taken out after independence till March 1976, and three – antiquities taken out of the country after April 1976.
The first two categories have to be raised bilaterally or in international fora. At the same time, cooperation can also be sought from UNESCO by raising the issue bilaterally for the third category antiquities.