An Act to provide for the preservation of Ancient Monuments and of
objects of archaeological, historical or artistic interest.
Whereas it is expedient to provide for the preservation of ancient
monuments, for the exercise of control over traffic in antiquities and over excavation in
certain places, and for the protection and acquisition in certain cases of ancient
monuments and of objects of archaeological, historical or artistic interest; It is hereby
enacted as follows:
1. (1) This Act may be called the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904,
(2) It extends to the whole of British India, inclusive of British
Baluchistan, the Sonthal Parganas and the Pargana of Spiti.
2. In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context:
(l) "ancient monument" means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus
or place of interment, 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 be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument; and
(c) the means of access to and convenient inspection of an ancient
(2) "antiquities" include any moveable objects which the
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 Local 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 me, 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
pernanent tranferable tenure, whether such estate or tenure be subject to incumbrances or
(6) "owner" includes a joint owner invested with powers 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. (1) The Local Government, may, by notification in the local official
Gazette, declare an ancient monument to be a protected monument within the meaning of this
(2) A copy of every notification published under sub-section ( I )
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 Local
Government within one month from the date when it is so fixed up will be taken into
(3) On the expiry of the said period of one month, the Local
Government, after considering the objections, if any, shall confirm or withdraw the
(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. (1) The Collector, with the sanction of the Local 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
(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 Local 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 subsection.
(6) Where a protected monument is without an owner, the Commissioner
may assume the guardianship of the monument.
(I) The Collector may, with the previous sanction of the Local
Government, propose to the owner to enter into an agreement with the Secretary of State
for India in Council 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
beemployed 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 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 Government to purchase land, or any specified portion of such land, at its market
(f) the payment of any expenses incurred by the owner or by the
Government in connection with the preservation of the monument;
(g) the proprietary or other rights which are to vest in His Majesty in respect of the
monument when any expenses are incurred by the Government in connection with the
preservation of the monument;
(h) the appointment of an authority to decide any dispute arising out
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 Government.
(3) An agreement under this section may be executed by the Collector on behalf of the
Secretary of State for India in Council, but shall not be so executed until it has been
approved by the Local Government.
(4) The terms of an agreement under this section may be altered from
time to time with the sanction of the Local Government and with the consent of the owner.
(5) With the previous sanction of the Local Government, the Collector
may terminate an agreement under this section on giving six months' notice in writing to
(6) The owner may terminate an agreement under this section on giving
six months' notice to the Collector.
(it) An agreement under this section shall be binding an 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 Government in respect of expenses incurred
inprotecting or preserving a monument shall not be affected by the termination of an
agreement under this section.
6. (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 religions 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. (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 buil don
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 authorize any person to do any suchact, and the expense 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. Every person who purchases, at a sale for arrears of land-revenue or
any other public demand, or at a sale made under the Bengal Patni Taluks, Regulation,1819
(8 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
S. 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. (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
10. (1) If the local Government apprehends that a protected monument is
in dander of being destroyed, injured or allowed to fall into decay, the Local Government
may proceed to acquire it under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 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 observances; or
(b) any monument which is the subject of a subsisting agreement
executed under section S.
(3) In any case other than the cases referred to in sub-section (2) the
said powes of compulsory purchase shall not be exercised unless the owner orother 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.
11. (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 Commisioner 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
12. 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. (1) A place of worship or a shrine maintained by the Government
under this Act shall not be used for any purpose inconsistent with its character.
(2) Where the Collecter 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 or 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 as he may think necessary in this behalf.
14. With the sanction of the Local Government, the Commissioner may-
(a) where rights have been acquired by 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 rights had not
been acquired; or
(b) reliquish any guardianship of a monument which he has accepted
under this Act
15 (1) Subject to such rules as may after previous publication be made by
the Local Government, the public shall have a right of access to any monument maintained
by the Government under this Act.
(2) In making any rule under sub-section (1) the Local Government may
provide that a breach of it shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty
16. 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 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.
Traffic in Antiquities
17. (1) If the Governor General in Council apprehends that antiquities
are being sold or removed to the detriment of India, or of any neighbouring country, he
may, by notification in the Gazette of India, prohibit or restrict the bringing or taking
by sea or by land of any antiquities or class of antiquities described in the notification
into or out of of British India or any specified part of British India.
(2) Any person who brings or takes or attempts to bring or take any
such antiquites into or out of British India or any part of British India 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 offense 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 empowered by the Local 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
subsection (4) has been vexatiously or improperly exercised may address his complaint to
the Local Government, and the Local Government shall pass such order and may award such
compensation, if any, as appears to it to be just.
Protection of Sculptures, Carvings, Images,
Bas-reliefs, Inscriptions or like objects (Section 18)
18. (1) If the Local Government considers that any sculptures, carvings, images,
bas-reliefs, inscriptions or other like objects ought not to be moved from the place where
they are without the sanction of the Government, the Local Government may, by notification
in the local official Gazette, direct that any such object or any class of objects shall
not be moved unless with the written permission of the Collector.
(2) A person applying for the permission mentioned in sub-sectior (1)
shall specify the object or objects which he proposes to move, and shall furnish, in
regard to such object or objects, any information which the Collector may require.
(3) If the Collector refuses to grant such permission, the applicant
may appeal to the Commissioner, whose decision shall be final.
(4) Any person who moves any object in contravention of a notification
issued under sub-section ( I ), shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five
(5) If the owner of any property proves to the satisfaction of the Local Government
that he has suffered any loss or damage by reason of the inclusion of such property in a
notification published under sub-section (1), the Local Government shall either-
(a) exempt such property from the said notification;
(b) purchase such property, if it be movable, at its market
(c) pay compensation for any loss or damage sustained by the owner of
such property if it be immovable.
19. (1) If the Local Government apprehends that any object mentioned in
a notification issued under section 18, sub-section (1) is in danger of being
destroyed, removed, injured or allowed to fall into decay, the Local Government may pass
orders for the compulsory purchase of such object at its market-value, and the Collector
shall there upon give notice to the owner of the object to be purchased.
(2) The power of compulsory purchase given by this section shall not
(a) any image or symbol actually used for the purpose of any religious
(b) anything which the owner desires to retain on any reasonable
ground personal to himself or to any of his ancestors or to any member of his family.
20. (/) If the Local Government is of opinion that excavation within
the limits of any local area ought to be restricted or regulated for the purpose of
protecting or preserving any ancient monument, the Local Government may, by notification
in the local of ficial Gazette, make rules-
(a) fixing the boundaries of the area to which the rules are to apply; and
(b) prescribing the authority by which, and the terms on which
licenses to excavate may be granted.
(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
(4) If any owner or occupier of land included in a notification under
sub-section(1), proves to the satisfaction of the Local Government that he has sustained
any loss by reason of such land being so included, the Local Government shall pay
compensation in respect of such loss.
21. (1) The market value of any property which Government is empowered to purchase
at such value under this Act, or the amount of compensation to be paid by Government in
respect of anything done under this Act, shall, where any dispute arises touching the
amount of such market value or compensation, be ascertained in the manner provided by the
Land Acquisition Act, of 1894 1894, section 3, 8 to 34' 45 to 47, 51 and 52 so far as they
can be made applicable:
Provided that when making an inquiry under the said Land Acquition Act, 1894, the
Collector shall be assisted by two assessors, one of whom shall be a competent person
nominated by the Collector, and one person nominated by the
owner or, in case the owner fails to nominate an assessor within such reasonable time as
may be fixed by the Collector in this behalf, by the Collector.
22. A Magistrate of the third class shall not have jurisdicition to try any person
charged with an offence against this Act.
23. (1) The Governor General in Council or the Local Government may make rules for
carrying out any of the purposes of this Act.
(2) The power to make rules given by this section to the condition of the rules being
made after previous publication.
24. No suit for compensation and no criminal proceeding shall lie against any public
servant in respect of any act done, or good faith intended to be done, in the exercise of
any power conferred by this Act.