Constitution of India- has three sections specifically designated for preservation of Indian culture.
Article 29: Protection of interests of Minorities
(i) Focuses solely on defence of culture of those communities that constitute minority according to the Constitution of India. As per the Constitution:
“Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”.
(ii) Allows communities like tribal populations of Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, North-Eastern regions, Odisha & numerically small groups like Parsis to take steps to preserve their culture, language and literature.
(iii) Also confirms that their right to receive help from State & any state-funded agency to receive grants & State funds to conserve their heritage.
(iv) Also makes distinction that no citizen shall be denied assistance from an institution maintained by state on grounds of their religion, caste, language, race or any of them.
Article 49: Protection of Monuments and Places and Objects of National Value
(i) Restates the importance of all monuments & objects belonging to India’s heritage.
(ii) Constitution states that:
(iii) “It shall be obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest. Any monument that is declared by or under law made by the Parliament to be of national importance should be saved from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.”
Article 51 A (f) ‘Value and preserve the rich heritage of Indian Culture’
(i) Article 51(A) - part of Fundamental duties of every citizen of India.
(ii) Acts to punish those who break laws concerning our culture are:
3. Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878:
(i) British Government instituted this Act to protect & preserve treasures found accidently.
(ii) All goods with an archeological & historical value were protected, so that a directory could be created of the treasures accumulated.
(iii) Important concerns addressed in the Act were:
- Discovered treasures, were to be declared to the concerned District Collector or the nearest Government treasury.
- If someone does not follow this directive or attempts to alter treasure or conceal the identity and value of the treasure, then he would have to face several penalties like a hefty fine or even be jailed.
- If owner of the place where treasure is found fails to share a percentage of the treasure with BritishGovernment, he would be convicted in front of theMagistrate and jailed for six months or fined, or both.
4. Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904
- British Government instituted this Act to provide effective preservation & authority over the monument to the government.
- Particularly concerned with monuments in custody of individual or private ownership.
- Central Government and the owner shall sign an agreement for conservation of any protected monument.
- In case of selling the land on which monument stands, government would have first right to purchase the land.
- Ancient Monuments Preservation Act- first enacted in 1904, was amended in 1932 to be Ancient MonumentsPreservation (Amendment) Act.
- 1958- Central Government enacted Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Site and Remains Act to broaden the kind of sites in urban and rural archeological settlements.
- Parliament also formulated The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 to better preserve historic monuments and archeological sites of national importance.
5. Antiquities Export Control Act, 1947
- It was enacted to provide a form of regulation over what can or cannot be shipped outside the boundaries of India.
- Two of the major concerns were:
(a) Director General has to issue a license for any object that is being exported from India.
(b) Director General also has power to decide if any article, thing or object is an antiquity or not.
- His decision about status of the object would be binding.
6. The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951
- All monuments of historical importance and archeological sites, which were earlier covered under ‘Ancient Monument Preservation Act’ were re-declared as objects of national importance.
- In 1951, around 450 monuments and archeological sites were added to the original list of 1904.
- This Act had some loopholes and to bring parity a revised version titled ‘The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958’, i.e. (No 24 of 1958) was created in August 1958.
- This version of Act was specially enacted keeping in mind the need to preserve the physical artifacts like sculptures, carvings and other such objects.
- Recent amendment to this Act in 2010- was titled ‘The Ancient monument and Archeological Sites and Remains (Amended and Validation) Act, 2010.
- The main provisions of this Act:
7. Delivery of Books (Public Libraries) Act of 1954
- Applies to whole of India with the except for Jammu and Kashmir.
- It defines what constitutes a ‘book’ and ‘newspaper’.
- Directs that it is the responsibility of publisher to ensure that a complete copy of every book and newspaper should be submitted to the four National libraries.
- Government could fine any publisher who does not follow this provision.
8. Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972
- Enacted for effective control over movable cultural property consisting of any type of art objects and antiquities.
- It is one step forward to control export trade in Indian antiquities and to prevent smuggling and fraudulent dealings.
- Most important points from Act are:
9. Public Records Act, 1993
- Enacted at behest of Department of Culture, which empowers government to permanently preserve records in public domain.
- Act also tries to regulate preservation and management of public records and decisions taken by the government and its various statutory bodies.
- Some of the major decisions taken by this Act are:
|1. What is the relationship between law and culture?|
|2. How does culture impact the legal system?|
|3. Can cultural diversity affect the application of law?|
|4. How does law shape cultural practices?|
|5. What role does culture play in the interpretation of law?|