New Delhi: The Centre on Monday conceded in the Supreme Court that there were no standard uniform procedures devised to regulate aspects of functioning of museums across India and it has started reforms, including the digitization process, for having computerised database for it.
The Ministry of Culture said that they have formulated a 14-point museum reform guidelines and it has been circulated to all central museums under the ministry and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for implementation.
"It is respectfully submitted that presently there are no standard uniform procedures devised for all the museums with reference to different aspects of their functioning," the ministry said in a counter affidavit filed before the bench of justices J Chelameswar and P C Ghose.
The affidavit was filed in a pending habeas corpus petition (a plea filed to secure presence of missing persons) filed by a relative of whistleblower Sunil Kumar Upadhaya, a preservation officer of Indian Museum Kolkata, who is missing.
The court also sought status report within four weeks into the probe conducted by the state police under the direct supervision of Special IG, CID.
Regarding some of the idols stolen and smuggled outside India, the ministry said in its affidavit that two such idols have been recovered from Australia while two antiques, which were stolen and taken to the US, have been returned to the Consulate General in New York and ASI would bring these sculptures back soon.
The response on stolen artifacts comes in the wake of November 7, 2014 hearing during which the apex court had expressed concern over CAG's findings that Indian artifacts have reached foreign auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's and said that it will later decide the scope of probe.
In the petition, filed through lawyer Anirudh Sharma, several other issues have been raised including the security of museums across the country.
Responding to the notice, the ministry said that the CISF was providing security to National Museum, New Delhi and Salarjung Museum at Hyderabad while the force has carried out a joint survey of the premises at the two museums at Kolkata to assess the requirement of forces for deployment which has not been possible in absence of accommodation facility for the cops.