18th. March, 1904
1. Short title and extent.—(1) This Act may be called the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904. (2) It extends to the whole of India. except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
2. Definitions.—In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,— (1) “ancient monument” means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of internment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith, which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest, or any remains thereof, and includes— (a) the site of an ancient monument; (b) such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument; and (c) the means of access to and convenient inspection of an ancient monument; (2) “antiquities” include any movable objects which the [Central Government, by reason of their historical or archaeological associations, may think it necessary to protect against injury, removal or dispersion; (3) “Commissioner” includes any officer authorized by the Central Government to perform the duties of a Commissioner under this Act; (4) “maintain” and “maintenance” include the fencing, covering in, repairing, restoring and cleansing of a protected monument, and the doing of any act which may be necessary for the purpose of maintaining a protected monument or of securing convenient access thereto; (5) “land” includes a revenue-free estate, a revenue-paying estate, and a permanent transferable tenure, whether such an estate or tenure by subject to incumbrances or not; and (6) “owner” includes a joint owner invested with power of management on behalf of himself and other joint owners, and any manager or trustee exercising powers of management over an ancient monument, and the successor in title of any such owner and the successor in office of any such manager or trustee: Provided that nothing in this Act shall be deemed to extend the powers which may lawfully be exercised by such manager or trustee.
3. Protected monuments.—(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare an ancient monument to be a protected monument within the meaning of this Act. (2) A copy of every notification published under sub-section (1) shall be fixed up in a conspicuous place on or near the monument, together with an intimation that any objections to the issue of the notification received by the Central Government within one month from the date when it is so fixed up will be taken into consideration. (3) On the expiry of the said period of one month, Central Government, after considering the objections, if any, shall confirm or withdraw the notification. (4) A notification published under this section shall, unless and until it is withdrawn, be conclusive evidence of the fact that the monument to which it relates is an ancient monument within the meaning of this Act.
4. Acquisition of rights in or guardianship of an ancient monument.—(1) The Collector, with the sanction of the Central Government, may purchase or take a lease of any protected monument. (2) The Collector, with the like sanction, may accept a gift or bequest of any protected monument. (3) The owner of any protected monument may, by written instrument, constitute the Commissioner the guardian of the monument, and the Commissioner may, with the sanction of the Central Government, accept such guardianship. (4) When the Commissioner has accepted the guardianship of a monument under sub-section (3), the owner shall, except as expressly provided in this Act, have the same estate, right, title and interest in and to the monument as if the Commissioner had not been constituted guardian thereof. (5) When the Commissioner has accepted the guardianship of a monument under sub-section (3), the provisions of this Act relating to agreements executed under section 5 shall apply to the written instrument executed under the said sub-section. (6) When a protected monument is without an owner, the Commissioner may assume the guardianship of the monument.
5. Preservation of ancient monument by agreement.—(1) The Collector may, with the previous sanction of the Central Government, propose to the owner to enter into an agreement with the Central Government for the preservation of any protected monument in his district. (2) An agreement under this section may provide for the following matters, or for such of them as it may be found expedient to include in the agreement:— (a) the maintenance of the monument; (b) the custody of the monument and the duties of any person who may be employed to watch it; (c) the restriction of the owner’s right to destroy, remove, alter or deface the monument or to build on or near the site of the monument; (d) the facilities of access to be permitted to the public or to any portion of the public and to persons deputed by the owner or the Collector to inspect or maintain the monument; (e) the notice to be given to the Central Government in case the land on which the monument is situated is offered for sale by the owner, and the right to be reserved to the Central Government to purchase such land, or any specified portion of such land, at its market-value; (f) the payment of any expenses incurred by the owner or by the Central Government in connection with the preservation of the monument; (g) the proprietary or other rights which are to vest in Government in respect of the monument when any expenses are incurred by the Central Government in connection with the preservation of the monument; (h) the appointment of an authority to decide any dispute arising of the agreement; and (i) any matter connected with the preservation of the monument which is a proper subject of agreement between the owner and the Central Government. *** (4) The terms of an agreement under this section may be altered from time to time with the sanction of the Central Government and with the consent of the owner. (5) With the previous sanction of the Central Government the Collector may terminate an agreement under this section on giving six months’ notice in writing to the owner. (6) The owner may terminate an agreement under this section on giving six months’ notice to the Collector. (7) An agreement under this section shall be binding on any person claiming to be owner of the monument to which it relates, through or under a party by whom or on whose behalf the agreement was executed. (8) Any rights acquired by the Central Government in respect of expenses incurred in protecting or preserving a monument shall not be affected by the termination of an agreement under this section. Section 5 empowers the Collector with the previous sanction of the Central Government, to propose to the owner of a protected monument to enter into an agreement with the Central Government for the preservation of any protected monument which is in existence. Such agreement would empower the Government to perform a number of actions enumerated in section 5. Without any previous action under sections 3 and 5, the District Magistrate would have no jurisdiction to authorise any person other than the owner of the property to remove or shift the said monument; Ashok Prapan Sharma v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1981 All 101.
6. Owners under disability or not in possession.—(1) If the owner is unable, by reason of infancy or other disability, to act for himself, the person legally competent to act on his behalf may exercise the powers conferred upon an owner by section 5. (2) In the case of village property, the headman or other village-officer exercising powers of management over such property may exercise the powers conferred upon an owner by section 5. (3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to empower any person not being of the same religion as the persons on whose behalf he is acting to make or execute an agreement relating to a protected monument which or any part of which is periodically used for the religious worship or observances of that religion.
7. Enforcement of agreement.—(1) If the Collector apprehends that the owner or occupier of a monument intends to destroy, remove, alter, deface, or imperil the monument or to build on or near the site thereof in contravention of the terms of an agreement for its preservation under section 5, the Collector may make an order prohibiting any such contravention of the agreement. (2) If an owner or other person who is bound by an agreement for the preservation or maintenance of a monument under section 5 refuses to do any act which is in the opinion of the Collector necessary to such preservation or maintenance, or neglects to do any such act within such reasonable time as may be fixed by the Collector, the Collector may authorise any person to do any such act, and the expenses of doing any such act or such portion of the expense as the owner may be liable to pay under the agreement may be recovered from the owner as if it were an arrear of land revenue. (3) A person aggrieved by an order made under this section may appeal to the Commissioner, who may cancel or modify it and whose decision shall be final.
8. Purchasers at certain sales and persons claiming through owner bound by instrument executed by owner.—Every person who purchases, at a sale for arrears of land-revenue or on any other public demand, or at a sale made under the Bengal Patni Taluks Regulation, 1819 (Ben. Reg. VIII of 1819), an estate or tenure in which is situated a monument in respect of which any instrument has been executed by the owner for the time being, under section 4 or section 5, and every person claiming any title to a monument from, through or under an owner who executed any such instrument, shall be bound by such instrument.
9. Application of endowment to repair of an ancient monument.—(1) If any owner or other person competent to enter into an agreement under section 5 for the preservation of a protected monument, refuses or fails to enter into such an agreement when proposed to him by the Collector, and if any endowment has been created for the purpose of keeping such monument in repair, or for that purpose among others, the Collector may institute a suit in the Court of the District Judge, or if the estimated cost of repairing the monument does not exceed one thousand rupees, may make an application to the District Judge for the proper application of such endowment or part thereof. (2) On the hearing of an application under sub-section (1), the District Judge may summon and examine the owner and any person whose evidence appears to him necessary, and may pass an order for the proper application of the endowment or of any part thereof, and any such order may be executed as if it were the decree of a Civil Court.
10. Compulsory purchase of ancient monument.—(1) If the Central Government apprehends that a protected monument is in danger of being destroyed, injured or allowed to fall into decay, the Central Government may direct the State Government to acquire it under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1 of 1894), as if the preservation of a protected monument were a “public purpose” within the meaning of that Act. (2) The powers of compulsory purchase conferred by sub-section (1) shall not be exercised in the case of— (a) any monument which or any part of which is periodically used for religious observance; or (b) any monument which is the subject of a subsisting agreement executed under section 5. (3) In any case other than the cases referred to in sub-section (2) the said powers of compulsory purchase shall not be exercised unless the owner or other person competent to enter into an agreement under section 5 has failed, within such reasonable period as the Collector may fix in this behalf, to enter into an agreement proposed to him under the said section or has terminated or given notice of his intention to terminate such an agreement.
10A. Power of Central Government to control mining, etc., near ancient monument.—(1) If the [Central Government is of opinion that mining, quarrying, excavating, blasting and other operations of a like nature should be restricted or regulated for the purpose or protecting or preserving any ancient monument, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules— (a) fixing the boundaries of the area to which the rules are to apply; (b) forbidding the carrying on of mining, quarrying, excavating, blasting or any operation of a like nature except in accordance with the rules and with the terms of a licence; and " (c) prescribing the authority by which, and the terms on which licences may be granted to carry on any of the said operations. (2) The power to make rules given by this section is subject to the condition of the rules being made after previous publication. (3) A rule made under this section may provide that any person committing a breach thereof shall be punishable with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees. (4) If any owner or occupier of the land included in a notification under sub-section (1) proves to the satisfaction of the Central Government that he has sustained loss by reason of such land being so included, the Central Government shall pay compensation in respect of such loss.
11. Maintenance of certain protected monuments.—(1) The Commissioner shall maintain every monument in respect of which the Government has acquired any of the rights mentioned in section 4 or which the Government has acquired under section 10. (2) When the Commissioner has accepted the guardianship of a monument under section 4, he shall, for the purpose of maintaining such monument, have access to the monument at all reasonable times, by himself and by his agents subordinates and workmen, for the purpose of inspecting the monument, and for the purpose of bringing such materials and doing such acts as he may consider necessary or desirable for the maintenance thereof.
12. Voluntary contributions.—The Commissioner may receive voluntary contributions towards the cost of maintaining a protected monument and may give orders as to the management and application of any funds so received by him: Provided that no contribution received under this section shall be applied to any purpose other than the purpose for which it was contributed.
13. Protection of place of worship from misuse, pollution or desecration.—(1) A place of worship of shrine maintained by the Government under this Act shall not be used for any purpose inconsistent with its character. (2) Where the Collector has, under section 4, purchased or taken a lease of any protected monument, or has accepted a gift or bequest, or the Commissioner has, under the same section, accepted the guardianship thereof and such monument, or any part thereof, is periodically used for religious worship at observances by any community, the Collector shall make due provision for the protection of such monument, or such part thereof from pollution or desecration— (a) by prohibiting the entry therein, except in accordance with conditions prescribed with the concurrence of the persons in religious charge of the said monument or part thereof, of any person not entitled so to enter by the religious usages of the community by which the monument or part thereof is used; or (b) by taking such other action as he may think necessary in this behalf.
14. Relinquishment of Government rights in a monument.—With the sanction of the Central Government the Commissioner may— (a) where rights have been acquired by the Central Government in respect of any monument under this Act by virtue of any sale, lease, gift or will, relinquish the rights so acquired to the person who would for the time being be the owner of the monument if such right had not been acquired; or (b) relinquishes any guardianship of a monument which he has accepted under this Act.
15. Right of access to certain protected monuments.—(1) Subject to such rules as may after previous publication be made by the Central Government, the public shall have a right of access to any monument maintained by the Central Government under this Act. (2) In making any rule under sub-section (1) the Central Government may provide that a breach of it shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty rupees.
16. Penalties.—Any person other than the owner who destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces or imperils a protected monument, and any owner who destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces or imperils a monument maintained by the Central Government under this Act or in respect of which an agreement has been executed under section 5, and any owner or occupier who contravenes an order made under section 7, sub-section (1) , shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with imprisonment which may extend, to three months, or with both.
Power to Central Government to control traffic in antiquities.— (1) If the Central Government apprehends that antiquities are being sold or removed to the detriment of India or of any neighbouring country, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, prohibit or restrict the bringing or taking by sea or by land of any antiquities or class or antiquities described in the notification into or out of the territories to which this Act extends or any specified part of the said territories. (2) Any person who brings or takes or attempts to bring or take any such antiquities into or out of the said territories or any part of the said territories in contravention of a notification issued under sub-section (1), shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees. (3) Antiquities in respect of which an offence referred to in sub-section (2) has been committed shall be liable to confiscation. (4) An officer of Customs, or an officer of Police of a grade not lower than Sub-Inspector, duly empower by the Central Government in this behalf, may search any vessel, cart or other means of conveyance, and may open any baggage or package of goods, if he has reason to believe that goods in respect of which an offence has been committed under sub-section (2) are contained therein. (5) A person who complains that the power of search mentioned in sub-section (4) has been vexatiously or improperly exercised may address his complaint to the Central Government, and the Central Government shall pass such order and may award such compensation, if any, as appears to it to be just.