Sale of heritage furniture to invite punishment

CHANDIGARH: The sale and auction of heritage furniture designed by Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret will invite strict punishment, including a jail term. The Administration has decided to write to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to start the process to include it under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972.

Sale of heritage furniture to invite punishment

Ramkrishan Upadhyay    

Tribune News Service   

Chandigarh, September 28      

The sale and auction of heritage furniture  designed by Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret will invite  strict  punishment, including a jail  term. The Administration has decided to write to the Archeological Survey  of India (ASI) to start the process to include it under the Antiquities and Art Treasures  Act, 1972.

The Administration has  no law under which it can stop the  sale of heritage  furniture or punish those indulging in the  sale  and purchase  of the  furniture    Under the Antiquities and Art Treasures  Act, 1972, any art material  which   have been in existence for not less than 100 years is covered under the Act  and called   ‘antiquities’.  The furniture designed by Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret is less than 50-year-old and is not covered under the Act.   As a result, there is no restriction on the sale of furniture, which is  fast vanishing. It is being auctioned in the international  market at a high price, but in Chandigarh, the furniture is being disposed of by government departments and owners as junk and sold at a cheaper price. This is causing a huge loss to the state exchequer. The Administration’s efforts to stop the practice have come a cropper due to guidelines set by officials of the ASI.    However, under Section 2(b) of the Act,  the Central Government as per the notification in the official gazette can  declare any  human work of art, not being an antiquity, as  art treasure for the purpose of this Act, having  regard to its artistic or aesthetic value, provided no declaration under this clause is made in respect of any such work of art so long as the author thereof is alive. 

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