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This article is written by R. Madhu Mitha of Sathyabama institute of Science and Technology of 10th Semester, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


This act aims to control the export of antiquities and art treasures, prevent the smuggling of antiquities and fraudulent dealings in them, mandate the acquisition of antiquities and art treasures for public preservation, and address various other matters related to or incidental to said activities. The study draws attention to the serious legal loopholes that exist for safeguarding, preserving, and promoting India’s rich cultural legacy as it is represented by these artefacts. Rather of trying to update the outdated laws, which will probably take a lot of time and effort, we suggest a digital strategy that will work at least until the laws catch up. The stakeholders in antiquities now have a plethora of digital avenues to enhance and extract value from their holdings thanks to the remarkable advancements in computers and related information systems. To fill in at least some of the holes in the current regulations, a digital strategy roadmap can be created using the ontology.


Antiquities, Art Treasures, Act, Objectives, History, 2017 Bill, Registration, Constitutional, Other Countries, Drawbacks, Prevention and Control.


Ancient antiques and artwork, like as jewellery, paintings, and sculptures, have long played a significant role in the culture of India’s people. Regretfully, India’s riches have been stolen and destroyed for a very long time, even before the country was freed from British colonial rule. This is an ongoing issue that requires immediate attention. The Antiquities (Export Control) Act of 1947 was repealed by the Antiquities and Art Treasuries Act, which was passed by Parliament in 1972.  The Archaeological Survey of India, a division of the Ministry of Culture, is in charge of gathering and exhibiting works of art with significant cultural and historical value. This blog provides a brief overview of some of its features, limitations, and concerning situations pertaining to Indian art. The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 and the Antiquities and Art Treasures Rules of 1973 are the two sets of legislation that have regulated every aspect of antiquities and art treasures in India for almost fifty years. The Indian Treasure Trove Act of 1878 and the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illegal Import, Export, and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property of 1970 serve as the foundation for both the 1972 Act and the Rules.

The 1972 Act attempts to effectively regulate the trade and export of antiquities in India and is under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India, an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture that is in charge of archaeological research as well as the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments. Its goal is to offer a reliable and well-organized system for the protection of antiques in public areas. However, despite multiple attempts and a variety of current challenges that have emerged globally in the art world, there have been no modifications or amendments to the Act since 1976. The common law foundation of India’s legal system acknowledges the following as authoritative sources of law. the Indian Constitution, which is the ultimate source of law; laws passed by the national assembly or state legislatures; customary law, which includes personal laws derived from regional and religious traditions; and precedent-setting rulings from the Supreme Court and High Courts of India.[1]


A piece of material that is at least a century old qualifies as an “antiquity” under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972. These depict historical topics such as science, art, crafts, religion, customs, literature and more. any coin, artwork, handicraft, painting, sculpture, or epigraph.

  • Anything that isn’t attached to a cave or building;
  • Anything that serves as an example of science, literature, religion, politics, art and craft customs, or morality from a bygone era;
  • Any item, substance, or historical significance;
  • Anything that the Central Government declares to be an antique for the purposes of this Act through a notification published in the Official Gazette.[2]


A human work of art that is not an antique that has been designated as a treasure by the Centre due to its artistic merits after the artist’s passing is known as an art treasure. According to the Act, a piece of art is considered a “art treasure” if it is not ancient and has been recognised by the Central government through publication in the Gazette for its creative or aesthetic value. The Act prohibits exporting historic or artistic artefacts, with the exception of the Central Government and those with authorization. Only in accordance with the conditions and guidelines of the permission granted by the designated authority may the Central Government or another authorised individual export antiquities. The 1962 Customs Act, which forbids the export of antiquities, will serve as the guide for such exports. The selling of any historically significant item is forbidden for six months following the Act’s adoption, unless permitted by the licence terms granted under the Act.[3]


The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 was passed in order to control the trading and ownership of antiquities and art treasures, as well as to stop the smuggling and fraudulent antiquities transactions. It requires all privately owned artefacts to be registered. The statute has a variety of problems that have caused data regarding India’s antiquities to be lacking. The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 was passed in order to regulate the export of sculptures and antiquities, prevent the smuggling of antiquities and fraudulent commercial activities involving them, acquire antiquities and sculptures for conservation purposes, and address other related matters.[4]

According to the Act, “antiquity” includes any sculpture, coin, image epigraph, other artwork, writing, object extracted from a cave or other structure, or object that depicts political affairs, science, literature, tradition, or religion from bygone eras. It also includes items having historical significance, items certified as antiques by the Central government that have been in use for a century or longer, and any manuscripts or scientific records that have been in use for a century and longer. Licencing officers who are Gazetted officers in government departments may be appointed by the Central government. The Central Government will decide on the licencing officers’ roles and authority. If someone wants to engage in the business of selling antiquities, they must apply for a licence with the relevant licencing officer in charge of their area. After receiving the application, the licencing officer will investigate the matter as needed before granting a licence, taking into account the applicant’s prior experience dealing with antiquities as well as the area in which the business would be operated. The licencing officer will also take into account other requirements for granting a licence, such as the quantity of people conducting antiquity-related business in the same area. The Act grants the Central government the authority to create regulations necessary to ensure the Act is applied correctly. The Antiquities and Art Treasures Rules, 1973 were created by the Central government in order to implement this law. The Antiquities and Art Treasurers (Amendment) Act, which was passed in 1976, revised the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972.[5]


The origins of Archaeological Survey of India can be found in the early years of the Antiquities establishment history. Alexander Cunningham drew out a note in 1868 defining archaeology as the study of sculpture, coinage, inscriptions, and architecture. Antiquities were accorded top priority, along with exploration and excavation, monuments, epigraphy, and conservation. Consequently, the Indian Treasure Trove Act of 1878 was presented. The Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1904, subsequently gave legal recognition to the protection of antiquities in order to gain control over antiquities trafficking and, where appropriate, to obtain ownership. Antiquity (Export Control) Act 1947 was another piece of legislation created to guarantee the safety of ancient relics.[6]

The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972 now governs transportable cultural property. The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, enacted by the Parliament, is entrusted to the Antiquity Section for implementation. The Act went into effect on April 5, 1976, and it regulated the export trade in antiquities and art treasures, prevented antiquities smuggling and fraudulent dealings, provided for the compulsory acquisition of antiquities and art treasures for preservation in public places, and addressed certain other matters incidental or ancillary to the aforementioned matters. No one other than the Central Government or anybody or agency designated by the Central Government in this regard is permitted to export any antiquities or art treasures under section 3 of the Act. In order to assist Customs officials with the export of non-antiquity, ASI has assigned a Deputy Superintending Archaeologist (Group-A) archaeologist to inspect the objects upon referral from Custom authorities.[7]


  • No individual, save the Central Government, is authorised to export any antiquities or works of art.
  • Selling antiquities is illegal unless one complies with the requirements of a licence issued by the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • Following the AATA’s implementation in 1976, the Centre requested that dealers in antiques and art objects declare the items they owned.
  • Anyone in possession of, controlling, or owning antiquities must register them and get a certificate.
  • The statute offers several legal channels for bringing charges against private collectors for “inadequate maintenance of the object.” These clauses discourage individual collectors from registering their antiques. In these situations, antique smuggling began and discouraged ancient trading domestically.
  • Because the Act’s penal measures are so lenient, people are not discouraged from breaking the law.
  •  A national database for the registration of antiquity is lacking. As a result, keeping track of all the antiques in the nation is challenging.
  • To help ASI control the antiquity market more successfully, more money and resources should be given to it. In the same vein, ASI is authorised to conduct house raids in the event that it determines that antiquities have been improperly stored by virtue of the Draught Antiquities and 2017 Bill.
  • Appropriate regulatory frameworks are needed to control the antiquity trade. Exporting antiquities to other nations is prohibited by the Draught Antiquities and Art Treasures Regulation, Export and Import Bill, 2017. Only the government or its agencies may export antiquities. It will assist in preventing antiquity from being smuggled into the global market.[8]
  • Numerous steps are taken to restrict the antique trade in the draught bill. However, the bill’s provisions, such as the unrestricted trade of antiques within India, may encourage smuggling and illicit activity.


The 1972 Act was enacted to safeguard artefacts and stop fraud and smuggling. The act hasn’t been able to fulfil the essential criteria for managing cultural heritage, though. First off, the regulations pertaining to antiquities are mostly unknown, and the nation still places a low value on antiquities. Nonetheless, India’s wealth of antiquities has turned the nation into a haven for smuggling and looting, which the state has not been able to stop. The illicit trade in antiquities has increased as a result of the 1972 Act’s poor implementation. This problem is exacerbated by the absence of an integrated database of stolen or returned artefacts, which makes it more difficult to monitor criminal operations. The inadequate preservation of antiquities has also been caused by ineffective bureaucracy and delays in the timely return of artefacts. Preservation is challenging since many artefacts are beyond repair and restoration when they are given to museums. The issue with the current statute is further exacerbated by poor communication between the government, archaeologists, customs officers, police, and local authorities. As of now, the 1972 Act has not shown itself to be successful in either guaranteeing the return of stolen artefacts to India or protecting artefacts. Concerns were voiced by the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) in a 2013 report that revealed “security lapses” that had resulted in the loss of 131 antiquities from monuments and sites and 37 art objects from ASI-run site museums over the previous 50 years. It was discovered that because the 1972 Act contained no specific clause allowing for it, the ASI has never taken part in or gathered data on Indian antiquities offered for sale at reputable foreign auction houses. Large-scale antiquities thefts have occurred on multiple occasions in India, but the government has not done enough to stop them. Between 1992 and 2017, 1,200 idols were stolen in Tamil Nadu. Very few had been discovered despite the Madras High Court’s pressure to address the idol theft. The Idol Wing Department, which looks into cases of idol theft, and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, which oversees Tamil Nadu’s temples, are currently engaged in a turf war over administrative control in the state. This has resulted in the needless arrest of department officials.[9]


  • Many of the artefacts that the ASI holds are stored in terrible circumstances, and during the examination, it was discovered that the organisation lacks detailed policy standards for their management. The documentation, conservation, and purchase of acquired artefacts at museums were shown to have serious flaws. The majority lacked standards for determining if acquired artefacts were authentic. There was no guarantee regarding their legitimacy.
  • Since the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act makes no mention of it, the Archaeological Survey of India has also never attempted to gather data on Indian antiquities that are put up for auction and sold at well-known foreign auction houses.
  • A certificate is the only incentive offered under the act to promote the registration of antiquities. Furthermore, nobody is aware of it. Antiquities are more likely to be stolen or ruined if they are not recorded.
  • Section 10 guidelines for licensees’ records, photographs, and registers are clear and require specific instructions for each type of antiquity.
  • Manuscripts containing solely text are exempt from registration requirements, under the 1980 notification. This clause needs to be changed because textual texts also include significant historical and cultural data that must be discovered.
  • Museums, offices, archives, and other cultural or educational organisations are free from the requirement to register artefacts under Section 18. This gives smugglers and other fraudulent acts a lot of leeway.
  • The Act permits registration officers to conduct their own independent examinations of antiquities. Unambiguously regulated provisions are required for the investigation of the authenticity and genuineness of the antiquities being registered.
  • The antiques and Art Treasures Act’s absence of procedures for recovering stolen antiques and artefacts from locations outside of India has been one of its main shortcomings.
  • A person whose licence has been revoked may sell all of their antiquities to another licensee under Section 12. A violation of the Act’s provisions or the requirements set forth in the license’s grant has been the basis for the license’s revocation.[10]


According to the AAT Act of 1972, the Central Government is able to designate which antiquities are under the purview of the Act’s registration requirements. The artefacts did not need to be registered in accordance with the current regulations. The Act further said that, for the purposes of the Act, the Central Government may designate Registering Officers. The nation is home to almost 70 lakh artefacts, according to the National Mission for Monument and artefacts. There was no deadline or set of goals for finishing this task. Neither the Ministry nor the ASI kept an eye on the status of the job. Furthermore, the registration procedure relied on visual inspection rather than rigorous examination. As such, its correctness may be disputed.

In a timely manner, the Ministry should speed the process of registering antiquities and develop protocols for guaranteeing the authenticity of the antiquities that are registered. Electronic format could be taken into consideration for this. In May 2013, the Ministry announced that 4.8 lakh antiquities have been registered to date and that no deadlines or benchmarks could be set for finishing the registration process.[11]


  • Section 2 – Definitions of Antiquities, Art Treasures, Export, licensing Officer, Registering Officer, Prescribed.
  • Section 3 – Control of the Export of Art Treasures and Antiquities. Once this Act takes effect, artefacts and treasures can only be exported by the Central Government or an authorised agency. Should the government choose to export such goods, it must rigorously adhere to the terms of the permit that was granted.
  • Section 5 – Antiques may only be sold with a licence. After the passage of this Act, only licences will allow someone to market or sell antiquities. The Central Government will appoint the licencing officers in accordance with Section 6.               
  • Section 7 – Licencing application. The individual who wants to sell the antiques must submit an application to the licencing officer in charge of that area.[12]
  • Section 9 – Authority of the Central Government to confiscate art treasures and artefacts. The national government has the authority to compel the acquisition of antiquities in order to conserve them in public areas. If the government makes such a decision, it will issue an order, and the Collector of the Dt. where the antiquities are housed will notify the owner of the antiquities of the specifics of the order. If required, the government will then take the possessions by force. Within 30 days, the owner of the antiquity may make a representation to the government, and it will be duly considered. The government may reject or uphold its earlier directive. However, this requirement does not apply to any item that is legitimately utilised for religious purposes.   
  • Section 10 – Preservation of the licensee’s records, pictures, and registrations. The licence holder is required to keep records and registers and to make them accessible for the licencing officer’s scrutiny.
  • Section 14 – Registration. The Central Government may publish a notification outlining which antiques must be registered in accordance with this Act. The goal of this registration is to protect the artwork and antiques so that people can appreciate India’s rich cultural legacy. If the notice pertains to objects he owns, then everyone who owns or manages such antiquities must register them within three months of the notification date.
  • Section 17 – Ownership of artefacts will be transferred; notify the Registering Officers. Any transfer of ownership or control over antiquity must be reported to the registering authority.
  • Section 20 – Repayment for damages. When antiquities are obtained through coercion, the owner will get a suitable payment based on the terms of the arbitration process or the government-party agreement.
  • Section 23 – Power to search. Any Central officer with authorization may conduct a search and seizure in accordance with the Act and Rules, and any violation may result in legal action.
  • Section 24 – The authority to decide on certain issues. The Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India will be consulted in the event of a disagreement regarding the antiquity of an item, and his determination will be the last word.
  • Section 25 – Fine. Aside from punishment under the Customs Act, exporting or attempting to export antiquities without a licence is punished by a fine and imprisonment for up to three years.[13]
  • Section 26 – No prosecution may be started unless an authorised officer of the government grants permission and clause 3 of section 25 is satisfied with the complaint submitted by the authorised officer.


  • Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution:
  • Union List – It as 67 items. Monuments, archives, and archaeological sites and remnants that date back thousands of years and that the Parliament has deemed to be of national significance.
  • State List – It as 12 items. Libraries, museums, and other such establishments under state control or funding; historic and archaeological sites and artefacts not specifically included in legislation established by Parliament as being of national significance.
  • Concurrent List – It as 40 items. archaeological remains and sites other than those 1 that are deemed to be of national significance by Parliament by legislation.
  • Directive Principle of State Policy: Article 49 requires the State to preserve any monument, location, or historic or cultural artefact that has been deemed of national significance by the Parliament or under a law passed by that body.
  • Fundamental Duty: According to Article 51A of the Constitution, it is the responsibility of every Indian citizen to cherish and protect our rich cultural legacy.[14]


  • In order to make it easier for customs officials to approve the export of non-antiquities, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has set up Expert Advisory Committees to certify non-antiquities.
  • ASI officers are available at all major international sea and air transportation exit points to support customs authorities in differentiating between antiques and non-antiques.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has established an Antique Cell to look into theft and loss incidents involving antiques.[15]
  • The National Mission on Antiquities and Monuments (2007). Its goal was to create a standard database of antiquities from various sources in order to create a National Register of Antiquities. There were more than 14 lakh antiquities registered as of 2016.
  • The Antiquities (Export Control) Act, 1947 was superseded by the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 and the ‘Rules’ framed thereon in 1973. The Act stipulates. requiring the registration of antiquities falling under specified categories and controlling the export of art treasures and antiquities. Antiquity cannot be exported by anybody other than the Centre or its agents, according to Section 3 of the Act. prevention of fraudulent antique transactions and smuggling. Acquisition of antiques and artwork must be required in order to avoid in public areas.[16]


The draught bill removes the requirement for a government-issued licence to trade in antiquities, allowing antiquities to move freely within the nation. The bill, however, permits “no-questions-asked” sales, in which illicitly obtained artefacts can be freely exchanged without disclosing the provenance or source of an item, rendering the source permanently untraceable. Relying solely on the seller’s good intentions to disclose the source in the absence of an outside verification method is extremely dangerous. Only if the state takes more decisive action would the proposed amendment continue to be beneficial. To properly apply the rules and modify the way stolen artefacts are handled, the government must step in. The number of cases that remain unsolved and the low percentage of artefact recovery indicate that the government needs to advance using digital repositories and technology. To raise awareness about stolen artefacts and the goings-on in the art world, lectures and seminars must be added to this method. [17]

Notwithstanding the fact that the proposed amendment strengthens the legal framework, the core issues in India still revolve around poor accountability and a lack of law enforcement. The state must provide the motivation for change, and professionals and activists in the sector must support it. A thorough inventory and documentation process should be used to provide a record of heritage sites and the artefacts housed within. Out of a potential 30 billion artefacts, the ASI has only currently registered roughly 3,000,000. The government needs to make a concentrated effort using the most recent technologies, even though attempts have been made. Tracking and retrieving stolen items are currently being handled by private initiatives. For instance, art enthusiasts have launched the Indian Pride Project, which uses social media to track down and recover sacred artefacts that have been stolen from Indian temples. The project’s co-founder, Vijay Kumar, was able to trace a six-and-a-half-inch bronze figure of the Buddha to a London-based trader of Indian antiquities, over 60 years after it was taken from Nalanda, Bihar. He is currently making an effort to investigate India’s claim to another Buddha statue that is presently housed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is thought to have been stolen in 1961. The government’s assistance and the utilisation of the gathered data may facilitate the tracing of artefacts and hasten their recovery.[18]


  • Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878
  • Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1904
  • Antiquities Export Control Act, 1947
  • The Ancient Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1951
  • Public Records Act, 1993



Cultural property was defined as follows by the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illegal Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property: the property is designated by countries having importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science.[19] International collaboration is one of the most effective ways to safeguard each nation’s cultural property, as the illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural property is one of the primary causes of the decline of the cultural heritage of the countries of origin of such property.

  • UN

The UN Security Council expressed concerns about the matter in 2015 and 2016, as did the UN General Assembly in 2000.


Nearly 50 years after the UNESCO treaty, the illegal international trafficking of cultural objects and related offences is regrettably becoming more common, according to a 2019 INTERPOL report.[20]


The first law to declare that archaeological sites on public lands are valuable public treasures is the Antiquities Act. It requires federal agencies in charge of managing public lands to protect the historical, scientific, memorial, and cultural significance of the archaeological and historic sites and buildings on these lands for the benefit of current and future generations. Additionally, it gives the President the power to declare certain locations, buildings, and artefacts of historical or scientific significance as national monuments in order to preserve them. The act was prompted by worries about the preservation of America’s archaeological sites, as well as the artefacts and knowledge they held, which surfaced during the latter part of the 19th century. A national and regional effort brought together scientists and educators, including those working in the emerging field of archaeology, to protect public land sites threatened by intentional, commercial artefact looting and careless excavation.

President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law on June 8, 1906, capping a generation-long struggle that resulted in the first comprehensive legislative preservation of cultural and natural riches in the United States. The act established significant precedents by stating that the public has a broad interest in archaeology on public lands and by endorsing the maintenance and administration of archaeological sites, artefacts, and data. The act established a connection between public programmes to maintain and offer public interpretation of artefact collections and data derived from the study of a site and its contents, and the protection of sites and its appropriate, scientific excavation.[21]



Mr. Kapoor, the accused, is an American citizen who was detained in Germany so that he might face charges in the Special Court of Idol Theft Cases, Kumbakonam. Eighteen panchaloha idols were taken in 2008 from the Tamil Nadu temples of Vardharaja Perumal Thirukovil and Arulmigu Sundereswarar in the Udayarapalayam Taluk. A Udayarapalayam police inspector filed a case over the same. Seven people were implicated in the aforementioned incident, it was discovered during the investigation. The idols haven’t been found despite an investigation and recording of the confessions made by the arrested accused. The petitioner contended in September 2022 that the idols were legally acquired through the appropriate channels and with documentation from the Institutions/Governments/Persons. The plea for the prosecution witnesses to be cross-examined was denied by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate. Most recently, in October 2022, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a complaint to look into the idol theft case after the Madras High Court ordered the Kumbakonam Court to finish the trial in a month. The aforementioned instance highlights the necessity of including “idols” in the Act’s definition of antiquities.[22]


In a historic decision rendered in 1982, a British high court mandated the return of a Nataraja statue representing Lord Shiva, one of the main Hindu deities, to India. Following a tip from the British Museum, Scotland Yard confiscated the statue, sparking the start of the legal dispute. The Canadian company Bumper Development Corporation (“BDC”) had sent the idol to the museum so that it might be restored. Robert Borden, the chairman of the firm and a well-known art collector, purchased the idol from Julian Sherrier, a London antique dealer, who stated the idol had been in his family’s ownership for many years. The Indian government filed a lawsuit in which it named Adrian Hamilton, the Queen’s counsel, BDC, and the Metropolitan Police as co-defendants. The Indian government cited Hindu personal law, which holds that statues found in temples are considered living things and distinct legal entities. It’s interesting to note that, depending on the circumstances, heavenly statues may have their own unique legal identity under Hindu personal law. English judges in India who had to apply Hindu law to religious endowments accepted this idea. In one such instance, an Indian court determined that when an idol receives an endowment, it becomes the focal point of legal relations and is accorded the status of a legal person. Nevertheless, in India, there was no basis for the customs clearance of the Shiva statue. Since the statue was regarded as a sculpture, authorities required documentation and an important import duty to establish its Indian origin. The Shiva statue in coastal Tamil Nadu was kept in a customs warehouse for more than ten years without the necessary paperwork, resulting in demurrage charges. Even though the Lord Shiva case was resolved nearly forty years ago, the term “antiquities” needs to be defined in Indian law today. A god must be allowed the status and rights of a legal person by the state if the “antiquity” in question is likewise regarded as a living entity.[23]


In this case the preservation of historic sites was granted priority over new construction. In several regions of the world, including India, temples, cathedrals, mosques, and other buildings were constructed by a number of Emperors, Kings, and other wealthy individuals in the hopes of becoming everlasting. In addition to being architectural wonders, many of these buildings also serve as symbols of the history and culture of the locations and eras in which they were built. Over time, these buildings gained the designation of historical monuments, and it has become an enormous undertaking for succeeding generations to preserve and safeguard them. Both governments and ordinary citizens have expressed concern over the preservation and safeguarding of ancient and historical sites. In this instance, the notion of sustainable development was taken into consideration by the court. According to the directive, no mining is allowed to take place in the core zone, which is 1km around the temple or monument. Mining operations may be carried out in the buffer zone, which is the next km, with the guidance of the knowledgeable agencies.[24]


In this instance, there may be times when a second inquiry is launched separately from the first and uncovers a variety of offences, some of which were discovered during the initial investigation. It is up to the prosecuting agency or the relevant accused to take the necessary steps by requesting that the two cases be tried together in the appropriate superior court when the report of the second investigation is presented to a magistrate other than the magistrate who has already taken cognizance of the first case. The Magistrates may act on their own initiative. subsequently the prosecuting agency has subsequently withdrawn the former case, there is no issue in this one. The Supreme judicial was presented with a submission alleging abuse of judicial process in connection with the submission of a charge sheet to the Delhi court and the withdrawal of the matter from the Ambala court. The judges believed that there was no covert reason behind the prosecution’s actions. It was specifically stated in the charge sheet submitted to the Delhi court that Mehra was not being sent for trial because he was already on trial in the Ambala Court. It was specifically stated in the application submitted under Section 494 CrPC in the Ambala Court that Mehra and others were the subject of a case in the Delhi Court, and as such, Mehra did not need to be prosecuted in the Ambala court. Permission to withdraw the case was granted by the Court. The judges were convinced that the investigative agency acted without malice, even if it would have been preferable if it had notified the Ambala Magistrate and requested his official approval for the second investigation. Additionally, they were confident that nothing criminal had occurred. Result was both were dismissed.[25]


In Madhya Pradesh, there were nine distilleries operating under licences from the Excise Commissioner to produce alcohol. Seven of the nine distilleries were located on government territory, but over time, D-2 licence holders replaced the distilleries’ equipment. That when the excise department used to request bids for the wholesale supply of alcohol, the lowest bids were typically accepted. That the individual whose tender was accepted was granted a D-2 licence to operate the distillery, and that person was also granted a D-1 licence to supply such liquor wholesale for a term of five years. Respondents’ numbers five through eleven were in possession of these licences until March 31, 1986. Since there were no distilleries in those two districts Jabalpur and Betul Mr Sagar Aggarwal was granted a D-1(s) licence to supply spirits, which he obtained from Ratlam Plant. Because the current units could not produce enough alcohol, the government was forced to pay more for alcohol that was purchased from other states. In addition, the distilleries’ equipment and structures needed to be replaced and rebuilt because they were getting older. That on April 1, 1986, a deed of understanding was signed between them, and in accordance with it, Respondents Nos. 5 through 11 began buying property, installing machinery, and building distilleries. In response to a writ case filed by Mr. Nandlal Jaiswal, Mr. Sagar Aggarwal, and M/s Doongaji & Co., the policy decision was challenged in the High Court and overturned by the Honourable Judges. Following that, the State appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. The four licence disposal methods listed under Rule XXII are interchangeable, so you can use any one of them rather than following a certain order. The Court further stated that it is difficult to conclude that the other technique can only be utilised in conjunction with an earlier manner of disposal when such mode is not available. Since the policy choice was a State Government economic decision unrelated to the courts, the Honourable Court was correct to overturn the High Court’s ruling. Furthermore, there was a significant delay in the petitioners’ filing of the writ petitions. The Respondents, who had incurred significant costs as a result of the policy decision, would have suffered extraordinary losses had the Court taken their reasons into consideration.[26]


In order to promote international dialogue regarding the restoration of property that has been unjustly carried from one nation to another, UNESCO established the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property in 1978. The removal of items from public collections is, nevertheless, strictly prohibited by law in many nations because doing so puts their museums at risk of being utterly empty. They argue that since India was once a part of the British Empire, their actions were not theft but rather simple relocation, which justifies their noncompliance with the ICPRCP’s provisions. This has shown to be a significant obstacle to returning Indian artefacts to their former splendour. The above-discussed act needs to be amended in a few different ways going forward. Antiques are being smuggled in and managed poorly. draw attention to the shortcomings in the Antiquity Act of 1972 and the necessity of enacting a new, comprehensive law to protect Indian antiques and works of art.  In order to prevent the theft of antiques and artefacts, museum security regulations need to be evaluated and reinforced. Only the upkeep and preservation of public antiquities should be under the purview of the Archaeological Society of India (ASI). It is imperative that the ASI be not inundated with duties that transcend its primary purview. Thus, it is imperative to establish agencies with the necessary authority to handle antiquities.


[1] Centre for art law, An Excursion into the Antiquities Law of India, (08 Nov. 2023),

[2]Forum, The Antiquities and art treasures act in India, (08 Nov. 2023), https://forumias.com/blog/antiquities-and-art-treasures-act-in-india-an-analysis/

[3] Byjus, the antiquities and art treasure act 1972, (08 Nov. 2023), https://byjus.com/question-answer/antiquities-and-art-treasures-act-1972-has-long-outlived-the-purpose-for-which-it-was/

[4] Lawyerslaw.org, the antiquities and art treasure act, (08 Nov. 2023), https://lawyerslaw.org/the-antiquities-and-art-treasures-act-1972/

[5] Lawyerslaw.org, the antiquities and art treasure act, (08 Nov. 2023), https://lawyerslaw.org/the-antiquities-and-art-treasures-act-1972/

[6] Archaeological survey of India, Antiquity section, (08 Nov. 2023), https://asi.nic.in/antiquity-section/

[7] Archaeological survey of India, Antiquity section, (08 Nov. 2023), https://asi.nic.in/antiquity-section/


[8] Insights IAS, Antiquities Abroad, (08 Nov. 2023), https://www.insightsonindia.com/2023/03/15/antiquities-abroad-what-indian-international-laws-say/

[9] Centre for art law, An Excursion into the Antiquities Law of India, (08 Nov. 2023), https://itsartlaw.org/2020/06/01/an-excursion-into-the-antiquities-law-of-india/

[10] Jus corpus law journal, antiquities and art treasures, (08 Nov. 2023), https://www.juscorpus.com/antiquities-and-art-treasure-act-1972-a-critical-appraisal/

[11] My ind markers, antiquities and art treasures, (08 Nov. 2023), https://myind.net/Home/viewArticle/monetising-our-gods-antiquities-and-art-treasures-act

[12] Slide player, the antiquities and art treasures, (09 Nov. 2023), https://slideplayer.com/slide/14607221/

[13] Slide player, the antiquities and art treasures, (09 Nov. 2023), https://slideplayer.com/slide/14607221/

[14] Only IAS, the antiquities and art treasures act, (09 Nov. 2023), https://pwonlyias.com/current-affairs/antiquities-and-art-treasure-act/

[15] Forum, The Antiquities and art treasures act in India, (09 Nov. 2023), https://forumias.com/blog/antiquities-and-art-treasures-act-in-india-an-analysis/

[16] Forum, The Antiquities and art treasures act in India, (09 Nov. 2023), https://forumias.com/blog/antiquities-and-art-treasures-act-in-india-an-analysis/

[17] Centre for art law, An Excursion into the Antiquities Law of India, (09 Nov. 2023), https://itsartlaw.org/2020/06/01/an-excursion-into-the-antiquities-law-of-india/

[18] Centre for art law, An Excursion into the Antiquities Law of India, (09 Nov. 2023), https://itsartlaw.org/2020/06/01/an-excursion-into-the-antiquities-law-of-india/

[19] Next IAS, missing antiquities, (09 Nov. 2023), https://www.nextias.com/current-affairs/17-03-2023/missing-antiquities-in-india/

[20] Next IAS, missing antiquities, (09 Nov. 2023), https://www.nextias.com/current-affairs/17-03-2023/missing-antiquities-in-india/

[21] National Park service, American antiquities act, 1906, (09 Nov. 2023), https://www.nps.gov/articles/american-antiquities-act-of-1906.htm

[22] Jus corpus law journal, antiquities and art treasures, (09 Nov. 2023), https://www.juscorpus.com/antiquities-and-art-treasure-act-1972-a-critical-appraisal/

[23] Centre for art law, An Excursion into the Antiquities Law of India, (09 Nov. 2023), https://itsartlaw.org/2020/06/01/an-excursion-into-the-antiquities-law-of-india/

[24] The mikus, K. GURUPRASAD RAO V/S STATE OF KARNATAKA & ORS. 2013 (8) SCALE 629, (09 Nov. 2023), https://quillbot.com/

[25] Law Bhoomi, Ram lal Narang vs state (Delhi Administration), (09 Nov. 2023), https://lawbhoomi.com/case-brief-ram-lal-narang-v-state-delhi-administration/

[26] Law insider, state of Madhya Predesh and ors. Vs Nandlal Jaiswal and ors., (09 Nov. 2023), https://www.lawinsider.in/judgment/state-of-madhya-pradesh-ors-v-nandlal-jaiswal-and-ors-1986-scc-4-566


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