Cultural renaissance of early nineteenth century witnessed enactment of the first
ever antiquarian legislation in India known as Bengal Regulation XIX of 1810. This
was soon followed by another legislation called as Madras Regulation VII of 1817.
Both these regulations vested the Government with a power to intervene whenever
the public buildings were under threat of misuse. However, both the Acts were silent
on the buildings under the private ownership. The Act XX of 1863, was therefore
enacted to empower the Government to prevent injury to and preserve buildings remarkable
for their antiquity or for their historical or architectural value.
The Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878 (Act No. VI of 1878) was promulgated to protect
and preserve treasure found accidentally but had the archaeological and historical
value. This Act was enacted to protect and preserve such treasures and their lawful
disposal. In a landmark development in 1886, James Burgess, the then Director General
succeeded in prevailing upon the Government for issuing directions: forbidding any
person or agency to undertake excavation without prior consent of the Archaeological
Survey and debarring officers from disposing of antiquities found or acquired without
the permission of the Government.
The Cultural heritage ushered in a new era when The Ancient Monuments Preservation
Act, 1904 (Act No. VII of 1904) was promulgated. This Act provided effective preservation
and authority over the monument particularly those, which were under the custody
of individual or private ownership. As this Act has not been repealed, it is deemed
to be in force. Next Act was The Antiquities Export Control Act, 1947 (Act No. XXXI
of 1947) and Rules thereto which provided a regulation over the export of antiquities
under a licence issued by the Director General and empowering him to decide whether
any article, object or thing is or is not an antiquity for the purpose of the act
and his decision was final.
In 1951, The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains
(Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951 (No LXXI of 1951) was enacted. Consequently,
all the ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains protected
earlier under ‘The Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904’ (Act No. VII of 1904)
were re-declared as monuments and archaeological sites of national importance under
this Act. Another four hundred and fifty monuments and sites of Part ‘B’ States
were also added. Some more monuments and archaeological sites were also declared
as of national importance under Section 126 of the States Reorganization Act, 1956.
In order to bring the Act on par with constitutional provisions and providing better
and effective preservation to the archaeological wealth of the country, The Ancient
Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 ( No 24 of 1958) was enacted
on 28th August 1958. This Act provides for the preservation of ancient and historical
monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance, for the regulation
of archaeological excavations and for the protection of sculptures, carvings and
other like objects. Subsequently, The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites
and Remains Rules 1959 were framed. The Act along with Rules came into force with
effect from 15 October 1959. This Act repealed The Ancient and Historical Monuments
and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951.
The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act 1972 ( No. 52 of 1972) is the latest Act enacted
on 9th September 1972 for effective control over the moveable cultural property
consisting of antiquities and art treasures. The Act is to regulate the export trade
in antiquities and art treasures, to provide for the prevention of smuggling of,
and fraudulent dealings in, antiquities, to provide for the compulsory acquisition
of antiquities and art treasures for preservation in public places and to provide
for certain other matters connected therewith or incidental or ancillary thereto.
This Act was also supplemented with The Antiquities and Art Treasure Rules 1973.
The Act and Rules have been in force with effect from 5th April 1976. This legislation
repealed The Antiquities Export Control Act, 1947 (Act No. XXXI of 1947).
THE ANTIQUITIES AND ART TREASURES RULES 1973
FORM I Application for license to carry on Business of selling or offering to sell antiquities
FORM- IA Application for Grant of a fresh License for carrying on Business of selling or offering to seal antiquities in lieu of one, the holder of which has Died.
FORM II - License for carrying on the Business of selling of selling or offering to sell antiquities
FORM-II A See Rule 6
FORM-III Monthly Return of sales or Acquisition of antiquities
FROM IV Register of antiquities
FROM V Declaration of Stock
FORM VI - Declaration of Stock (see conditions under rule 6 (k), (o) and 9 (b)
FORM VII Application for registration of antiquities (see rule 11)
FORM VIII Certificate of registration of antiquities (see rule 12)
FORM IX Transfer of ownership
SECTION B To be completed by the new owner