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Special Correspondent, The Hindu / KOCHI, July 28, 2011.
A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday declined to issue a directive to the Centre to acquire the four paintings of Raja Ravi Varma auctioned in New Delhi in November 2010 by a Bangalore-based fine arts auction house.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon, however, said the matter deserved the attention of the Union government at a higher level.
The court refused to issue any directive on the ground that the Centre had not formulated an opinion whether the auctioned paintings should be preserved in a public place or not.
The court pointed out that under section 19 of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, the Centre should formulate an opinion that a particular antiquity or art treasure should be preserved in a public place if such artefacts were to be acquired.
In the absence of such a view, the court could not straight away pass an order for acquisition as it involved payment of monetary compensation to a person from whom the paintings was sought to be acquired. The court said that such a financial commitment could not be made by the court without first clearly ascertaining the view of the Union government.
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