The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the State to remove all encroachments from ancient monuments and archaeological sites in the State within a period of three months.
The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh also directed the competent authority under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 to frame Heritage Bye-laws in consultation with the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage for each protected monument and protected area in the state within six months.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by social worker Mr. Anil Kumar Maheshwari, demanding that encroachments be removed from ancient monuments and archaeological sites in the town of Kashipur. The petition specifically pertained to the sites of Drona Sagar, Chaiti Temple of Mata Baal Sundari Devi, Bhagwan Moteshwar Maharaj Temple, Govishana Mount and the ramparts of an old fort in the town.
Examining the averments before it, the Court took note of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, which provides for preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance.
It then noted that Heritage Bye-laws had not been prepared so far for the prohibited area or regulated area of each protected monument and protected area, under the Second Schedule as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Framing of Heritage Bye-laws and other Functions of the Competent Authority) Rules in the State of Uttarakhand.
“It was the duty cast upon the Competent Authority to frame bye-laws in respect of prohibited area or regulated area in consultation with the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage,” it opined.
The Court then disposed of the petition with the following directions:
Read the Order Here