Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Delhi High Court instructs Archaeological Survey of India for considering a request for cultural programme at Agra Fort

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The Delhi High Court has given directions to the Archaeological Survey of India for expeditiously considering a request for permission to conduct a cultural programme at the Agra Fort.

The ASI has been asked to consider a request to celebrate Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s birth anniversary on February 19 if the Maharashtra government agrees to co-organise the event.

The order was passed by Justice Pratibha Singh in a plea by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) challenging the ASI’s refusal to allow the programme.

In its order, the court said that if the State of Maharashtra wishes to co-organise the event, they may move a letter to the ASI which may be considered expeditiously.

The Court gave the directions after the petitioner said that they had approached the State of Maharashtra to co-organise the event, and this request was under consideration.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by the NGO, RR Patil Foundation challenging an order of the ASI.

The foundation in its plea submitted that the ASI did not give any reasons for its order , just rejected it without any due consideration.

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It was highlighted that even the Chief Minister of Maharashtra also wrote a communication to the benefit of the petitioners.

As per the plea, rejection by the ASI infringes the petitioners’ fundamental rights under Article 19 of the Constitution, which permits him to organise events for promoting and promulgating heritage and social values of national figures and icons anywhere in the country.

The petitioner has thus urged the High Court to direct the ASI to allow the petitioner foundation to organise the cultural programme at Agra Fort on February 19. 

The counsel of ASI however said that reporting here is wrong as the permission was being sought not for a State function but an event organised by a private NGO.

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The counsel submitted that to give permission to an NGOs would lead to ASI being flooded with such requests,however if the petitioners comes through a government body, the permission can be granted for sure.

The Court had, therefore, asked Rao to obtain instructions in the matter and see if the Maharashtra government can be involved in the event.

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