- The Ministry of Culture has said that Karnataka tops the list in India in terms of stolen antiquities.
- Antiquity is an article or object (example: coin, sculpture, painting or epigraph, or anything taken from a building or cave) that is at least 100 years old. These illustrates the science, art, crafts or customs or religion or literature of a bygone age, or anything of historical interest. If it is a manuscript or record of any scientific, historical, literary or aesthetic value, it should be at least 75 years’ old.
- The antiquities in India are governed by The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. The main purpose of the act is to regulate the export trade in antiquities and art treasures and prevent smuggling and fraudulent dealings of antiquities and art treasures. An art treasure is a human work of art, other than an antiquity. It is to be declared a treasure by the Centre for its artistic value after the artist’s death.
- The Act is regulated by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). ASI, under the ministry of Culture, is the nodal agency responsible for archaeological excavations, conservation of monuments, and protection of heritage sites, antiquities and art treasures.
- Under the act, it is mandatory to register possession of an antiquity with the ASI. Further, an antiquity can be sold within the country only by a licenced person. Section 3 of the Act prohibits export of an antiquity by anyone other than the Centre or its agencies.
- In 2017, the government introduced Draft Antiquities and Art Treasures Regulation, Export and Import Bill, 2017. The draft bill eases out the process of trading antiques in India. It allows a dealer to trade post notifying the government of the transaction through an online portal maintained by the ASI.
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