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Country Summary for INDIA

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


(1) any work of art or craftsmanship such as a coin, sculpture, painting, or epigraph;
any article, object or thing:
(a) detached from a building or cave;
(b) illustrative of science, art, crafts, literature, religion, customs, morals or politics in by-gone ages;

(c) of historical interest;
(d) at least one hundred years old and declared by the Central Government in the Official Gazette to be an antiquity for the purposes of this Act; and

(3) any manuscript, record or other document which is of scientific historical, literary or
aesthetic value and which has been in existence for at least seventy-five years. (AATA §2)

'Art Treasure'—declared as such by the Central Government in the Official Gazette; any work of art that is not an antiquity, whose author is deceased, and that is noted for its artistic or aesthetic value. (AATA §2) Art treasures include paintings (including drawing, sketches, diagrams and the like) and objects of plastic art by: Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Jamini Roy, Nandalal Bose, Ravi Verma, Gaganendra Nath Tagore, Abanindra Nath Tagore, Sailoz Mookerjee, and N. Roerich. (G.S.R. 904(E) and G.S.R. 477(E))

'Ancient Monument'any structure, erection, or monument; any tumulus or place of interment; or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription, or monolith; which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for at least one hundred years. This designation extends to:
(1) the remains of an ancient monument;

(2) the site of an ancient monument;

(3) such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may be required for fencing, covering, or preserving the monument; and

(4) the means of access to or inspection of an ancient monument. (Monuments and Remains Act §2)

'Archaeological site and remains'—any area reasonably believed to contain ruins or relics that are at least one hundred years old and that are of historical or archaeological importance. This designation extends to
(1) such portions of land adjoining the areas as may be required for fencing, covering, or preserving them; and

(2) the means of access to or inspection of the areas. (Monuments and Remains Act §2)

'Protected Area'
—any archaeological site and remains declared to be of national importance by or under this Act. (Monuments and Remains Act §2)

'Protected Monument'
—an ancient monument declared to be of national importance by or under this Act. (Monuments and Remains Act §2)

'Prohibited Area
'—means any area extending one hundred meters in all directions beyond a protected area or protected monument, where no person other than an archaeological officer shall carry out any construction. (Remains Amendment §4)


The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify those antiquities which shall be registered. In doing so, it shall consider the necessity for conserving the objects of art and the need to preserve such objects for better appreciation of the cultural heritage of India. (AATA § 14) Examples of Government-designated antiquities include:
(1) sculptures in stone, terra cotta, metals, ivory, and bone;

(2) paintings (including miniatures and tanks) in all media including paper, wood, cloth, and silk;
manuscripts that contain paintings, illustrations, or illuminations;
(4) sculptured figures in wood (both in relief and round). (S.0. 448(E))

Every person who owns, controls or possesses an antiquity shall register it before an officer within three months after it is declared an antiquity in the Official Gazette or within fifteen days of coming into its ownership, control, or possession. (AATA §14)

Whenever any person transfers the ownership, control or possession of any antiquity, he shall inform, within the time and manner prescribed, the registering officer. (AATA §1)

The Central Government may also declare ancient monuments and archaeological sites to be of national importance. In doing so, the Government shall consider the monuments’ or sites’ historical, archaeological, and architectural value. The Government shall make information regarding such classifications available to the public. (Monuments and Remains Act §§3-4)

Relevant State Agencies

'Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)'—determines whether or not an article is an antiquity or art treasure. (AATA §24)

The Central Government, in addition to classifying and registering antiquities and monuments, may:
(1) designate Collectors for the compulsory purchase of antiquities; (AATA §19-20)

(2) authorize agencies to regulate export trade in antiquities and art treasures (AATA §3); and

(3) appoint licensing officers to regulate the sale of antiquities. (AATA §5)

'National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage'
— oversees the preparation of heritage by-laws concerning construction work and heritage controls on protected monuments and protected areas. (Remains Amendment §6)

'National Monuments Authority'

make recommendations to the Central Government for grading and classifying protected monuments and protected areas declared as of national importance; and
consider the impact of large-scale development projects which may be proposed in regulated areas. (Remains Amendment §6)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch
Minister of Culture
Room No. 501
C Wing
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi 110115
Ph: 23386765; 23384173; 23381539

Pravin Srivastava
Director General
Archaeological Survey of India
Office of the Director
Janpath, New Delhi 1100111
Ph: 23015954
F: 23019487