New Delhi: A PIL was today filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Centre to protect and maintain over 400 artefacts and articles belonging to Constitution-framer Bhim Rao Ambedkar which are lying in a private museum 'Shantivan' in Maharashtra.
The plea, filed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw, will come up for hearing on October 29.
The petition said that the concerned department of the museum has written to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) several times seeking funds for maintenance of these objects or requesting ASI to preserve these articles. However, ASI is yet to take any concrete action in protecting these articles.
"It is also relevant to note that while the Minister of Culture and Tourism in 2008 had directed ASI to take action
towards preserving these articles, no action has as yet been taken by any of the respondents towards preserving these
articles of national importance," the PIL, filed by Mithilesh Kumar Pandey through his advocate Ajit Sharma, said.
Over 400 articles belonging to Ambedkar have been lying at the private museum at Nagpur and they are in stages of spoilage and destruction due to non-availability of adequate funds for their funds, it added. The PIL also alleged that if these articles are not protected immediately, they may be lost forever for posterity.
"Article 49 of the Constitution of India, part of the Directive Principles of State Policy, expressly provides that it shall be the obligation of the state to protect every object of artistic or historical interest from spoilage, disfigurement, destruction, disposal etc," the plea said.
The petitioner has made Union of India, ASI, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, Nagpur Improvement Trust, Indian Buddhist Council Shantivan and a private news channel party in the case. It further said "the technology available to preserve the
clothes, manuscripts, articles etc. of Ambedkar is with the government only and is otherwise unavailable to the various
trusts involved in conservation of Ambedkar's articles."