Stringent punishment for desecration of monuments
New Delhi: Stringent punishment can be meted
out to those indulging in desecration of archaeological
monuments with Parliament passing a bill that also provides
for setting up a body to define heritage structures.
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remain
(Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2010, earlier passed by the
Lok Sabha, was approved by the Rajya Sabha today.
It will replace an Ordinance promulgated in January this
year. Certain provisions added to the Bill, which were absent
in the Ordinance, include defining the prohibited area for
purposes of construction around the protected monuments.
The punishment for the violators is being extended from
three months imprisonment to up to two years or fine up to Rs
one lakh from Rs 5,000 now.
Winding up the debate, Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa
Moily said once areas around the archaeological and heritage
sites are demarcated, "we can graduate to greater punishment".
The proposed National Monument Authority will comprise
archaeological and heritage experts and will work without any
interference from judiciary or bureaucracy, he said.
As per the bill, no construction will be allowed in the
regulated areas, which will be 200 meters in all directions
from the prohibited place surrounding the protected monuments.
The bill also empowers the National Authority to approve
large scale development projects to be set up in regulated
Responding to members` demand for setting up a National
Heritage Commission, Moily said a proposal to this effect is
before the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
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