The Parliament of India enacted the Indian Museum Act on 18 March 1910 to consolidate and amend the laws relating to Indian Museums. Among other things, the Act provisions for the incorporation of trustees for the Indian Museums, property and powers of the trustees, duties of the trustees. Provisions have been provided to empower the Central Government to make provisions and rules regarding this matter.
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Indian Museum Rules, 1970
The Indian Museum Rules were enacted and enforced in 1970. The Indian Museum Rules empowers the trustees to create posts as may be necessary. The recruitment for any post is by direct recruitment, promotion, transfer. The rules provide a procedure for recruiting the Chairman, Director, Trustees, Honorary Secretary and nominating members for Class-I, II, III, and IV posts to maintain the museum property. The Act also provides provisions for the appointment, termination, retirement, re-employment, suspension of such members and penalties for violations of any provisions.
Incorporation of trustees
Per Section 2 of the Indian Museum Act, the following persons shall be the trustees of the Indian Museum:
- Governor of West Bengal to be the ex officio
- Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Indian Museum, ex officio.
- Mayor of Corporation of Calcutta, ex officio
- Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, ex officio
- Accountant-General of West Bengal, who shall be the ex officio
- Four persons are to be nominated by the Central Government
- One person to be nominated by the West Bengal Government
- One person to be nominated by the Council of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta
These trustees shall be the body corporate in the name of ‘The Trustees of the Indian Museum’, having perpetual succession and a common seal.
According to Section 3 of the Act, the body corporate shall consist of six members. For a business meeting, the minimum number of trustees should be four.
Per Section 4 of the Act, the nominating authorities shall have the power to nominate new trustees if the nominated trustee dies or is absent from the meeting for more than 12 consecutive months, chooses to be discharged, refuses to act or becomes incapable of Act.
Property and powers of the trustees
Properties and powers of the trustees have been provided under Sections 6 to 9. Section 6 deals with the trust property vested under the control of the trustees.The Act states that the trustees shall have the exclusive control, possession, and occupation of such trust land.
Trustees are empowered to appropriate the capital of any portion of such property for the maintenance, improvement and enlargement of the articles of collections.
Power of trustees
Sections 7, 8, and 9 deal with the powers of the trustees.
Section 7 provides that the trustees have the power to
- Deliver to any person by way of loan any articles under this Act.
- Exchange or sell duplicates of the articles worthy of preserving in the Museum.
- Remove or destroy any such articles contained in any collection under this Act.
Section 8 empowers the trustees to make by-laws. Per this section, the trustees have the power to make by-laws necessary for the execution of their trust by previous sanction of the Central Government. Such by-laws may provide for the
- Summoning, organising, and adjourning general and special meetings of the Trustees
- Calling for the attendance of Trustees at such meetings
- Provision regarding the keeping of minute books and account books
- Compiling catalogues
- Lending of articles vested in the Trustees
- Exchange, sale, and presentation of articles in Museums of India
- Removal and destruction of articles from any collections
- General management of the Museum
Section 9 empowers the trustees to appoint officers and servants to manage the trust property properly.
Duties of trustees
The duties of trustees have been provided from Sections 10 to 12 and include the following:
- Section 10: The trustee shall submit the financial year’s budget to the Government for approval.
- Section 10A: The trustee shall submit an account of all money to the Auditor. The trustee shall publish annual statements and reports for general information.
- Section 11: The trustee shall preserve the article of the Indian Museum.
Certain provisions have been added under part V of the Act, including Sections 12A to 16. Some important provisions are as follows.
Power of the Central Government
The Central Government shall have the following powers:
- The Central Government shall issue directions to the trustees. The Central Government’s decision in this regard shall be final (Section 12A).
- The Central Government shall recommend the trustees regarding maintenance of the collections of articles under this Act.
- Per Section 15A, the Central Government shall make rules regarding:
- Recruitment and the conditions of employment of the officers of the Museum.
- Form and manner in which the accounts of the Museum must be maintained.
- Conditions regarding delivering of possession by the trustees.
The Indian Museum Act of 1898 protects the Indian Museum and provisions for its maintenance. The Act appoints officers and museums for such purpose, thereby saving the collections of articles of national importance.
FAQs on the Indian Museum Act
What is the Indian Museum Act?
The Indian Museum Act is an important legislation that regulates and governs the functioning, administration, and management of museums in India. The Act provides legal provisions for establishing, maintaining, and operating museums in the country.
When was the Indian Museum Act enacted?
The Act was enacted on 18 March 1910 by the Parliament of India.
Which museums are covered under the Indian Museum Act?
The Indian Museum Act applies to all museums established, maintained, or controlled by the Government of India and those established under the authority of any State Government.
What are the objectives of the Indian Museum Act?
The primary objectives of the Indian Museum Act include the preservation, protection, and promotion of cultural heritage and artefacts and the regulation of museums to ensure their proper management and functioning.
How does the Indian Museum acquire its collections?
The Indian Museum acquires collections through various means, including donations, purchases, and excavations. It also houses items of national and international importance collected over the years.
On whom does the Indian Museum Act vest powers regarding the maintenance of the articles of the Museum?
The Indian Museum Act vests duties upon the trustees of the Indian Museum for the preservation and maintenance of the articles of collection. It further empowers the Central Government to make rules regarding such collection of articles covered under this Act.