ANTIQUITIES ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

Property in Antiquities

2. Property in antiquities.

3. Payment by the State of market value of certain antiquities.

4. Agreement as to apportionment of antiquities, without payment by the State.

5. Dispute as to market value or apportionment of antiquities.

PART II

Discovery of Antiquities Excavations

6. No excavation except upon licence from Director-General of Archaeology.

7. Application for licence to excavate.

8. Grant or refusal of licence to excavate.

9. Terms of licence.

10. Duty of licensee in respect of discoveries.

11. Withdrawal of licence without compensation.

12. Appeal against refusal or withdrawal of licence to excavate.

13. Immunity of State from claims for loss or damage.

Discovery of Antiquities Otherwise than Under a Licence to Excavate

14. Discovery of antiquities otherwise than under licence to excavate.

Offences Relating to Discovery of Antiquities

15. Offences relating to discovery of antiquities.

Offences Relating to Theft and Destruction of Antiquities

15A. Offences relating to theft of antiquities.

15B. Penalty for destruction of antiquity.

15C. Offences under Criminal Procedure Code.

15D. Evidence.

PART III

Ancient Monuments

16. Declaration of a monument in existence not less than hundred years as an ancient monument.

17. Declaration of specified trees as ancient monuments.

18. Notification of protected monuments.

19. Previous notice of intention to declare an ancient monument to be a protected monument.

20. Agreements in regard to protected monuments.

21. No restoration of protected monument, except upon permit.

22. Refusal or revocation of permit under section 21.

23. Power of Commissioner-General of Archaeology to restore, repair protected monuments.

24. Prohibition or restriction of building, mining in vicinity of certain monuments.

25. Claim for compensation by owner of land affected by regulations under section 24.

26. Establishment of compensation Board.

27. Decision of the Board after inquiry.

28. Powers of the Board.

29. Appeal to District Court from decision of the Board and procedure thereon.

30. Hearing of appeal by the court and its powers.

31. Penalty for destruction, desecration, of ancient monuments.

32. Further offences.

PART IV

Archaeological Reserves

33. Archaeological reserves.

34. Encroachments on archaeological reserves.

35. Eject merit of person convicted under section 34.

PART V

Export of Antiquities

36. Prohibition of export of antiquities except upon licence.

37. Applications for licence to export antiquities.

38. Appeal against refusal of licence.

39. Acquisition by museum of antiquity sought to be exported.

PART VA

Advisory Committee

39A. Establishment of Advisory Committee.

PART VI

Powers and Duties of Director-General of Archaeology

40. Powers of Director-General of Archaeology.

41. Duties of Director-General of Archaeology.

42. Power of inspection of antiquities.

43. Authorisation of Government Agents and other officers to exercise powers of Director-General of Archaeology.

43A. Impact assessment of proposed development projects.

43B. Conditions to be complied with.

PART VII

Miscellaneous

44. Penalty for breach of Ordinance or regulation, where no other penalty provided.

45. Determination of disputes under sections 5 and 39.

46. Reward Fund.

47. Regulations.

PART VIII

Interpretation

48. Interpretation.

49. The Lost Regulation not to apply to antiquities.

50. Sinhala text to prevail in case of inconsistency.

9 of 1940,

24 of 1998,

12 of 2005.

AN ORDINANCE to provide for the better preservation of the Antiquities of Sri Lanka, and of sites and buildings of the historical or archaeological importance in Sri Lanka.

[Subs by s 2 of Act 24 of 1998.]

[Date of Commencement: 15th July, 1940]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Antiquities Ordinance.

PART I

Property in Antiquities

2. Property in antiquities.

(1) No antiquity shall, by reason only of its being discovered in or upon any land in the ownership of any person, be or be deemed to be the property of such person:

Provided that such person shall be deemed to be interested in such antiquity in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance.

(2) Every ancient monument which on the date on which this Ordinance comes into operation is not owned by any person or the control of which is not vested in any person as trustee, incumbent or manager, shall be deemed to be the absolute property of the State.

(3) All undiscovered antiquities (other than ancient monuments), whether lying on or hidden beneath the surface of the ground or in any river or lake or within the territorial sea of Sri Lanka, shall be deemed to be the absolute property of the State, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance.

[S 2(3) am by s 3 of Act 24 of 1998.]

3. Payment by the State of market value of certain antiquities.

On the discovery of any antiquity (other than an ancient monument), the Director-General of Archaeology, on behalf of the State, shall be enrolled to the custody and possession of such antiquity, unless in any case the Director-General of Archaeology does not consider it necessary that such antiquity shall be retained by the State; and, where any such antiquity is retained by the Director-General of Archaeology on behalf of the State, there shall be paid by the State—

(a) one-half of the market value of the antiquity to the finder thereof and one-half of such value to the owner of the land in which the antiquity was found, or

(b) where the same person is both the finder of the antiquity and the owner of such land, the whole of the market value of the antiquity to such person, or

(c) where the antiquity is found on State land by any person (other than the Director-General of Archaeology or any person acting under his authority in the discharge of any duty or function under this Ordinance), one-half of the market value of the antiquity to the finder thereof:

Provided that on the retention by the State of any antiquity no such payment as aforesaid shall be made to the finder thereof where the finder has failed to report the discovery of that antiquity in accordance with the provisions of section 10 or section 14, as the case may be.

[S 3 am by s 17 of Act 24 of 1998.]

4. Agreement as to apportionment of antiquities, without payment by the State.

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 3, it shall be lawful for the Director-General of Archaeology with the approval of the Minister, to enter into an agreement in writing with any person who would under the provisions of section 3 be entitled to the market value of any antiquity or any part of such value, whereby such person shall receive from the State in lieu of such value or part thereof, a share of such antiquity, to be apportioned in such manner as may be provided in the agreement.

(2) Every agreement under subsection (1) shall be free from stamp duty and shall have force and effect notwithstanding anything in section 3:

Provided always that where the finder of any antiquity does not report the discovery thereof in accordance with the provisions of section 10 or section 14, as the case may be, he shall not be entitled to receive any share of such antiquity under any such agreement.

5. Dispute as to market value or apportionment of antiquities.

Where there is any dispute between the Director-General of Archaeology and any person as to the market value of any antiquity or as to the apportionment of any antiquity in terms of an agreement under section 4, such dispute shall be determined in the manner provided in section 45, and such determination shall be final and conclusive.

PART II

Discovery of Antiquities Excavations

6. No excavation except upon licence from Director-General of Archaeology.

Subject as hereinafter provided, no person shall excavate for the purpose of discovering antiquities, whether on land belonging to himself or otherwise, except under the authority of a licence issued by the Director-General of Archaeology:

Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to any excavation carried out by or on behalf of the Director-General of Archaeology.

7. Application for licence to excavate.

Every application for a licence to excavate shall:

(a) be made to the Director-General of Archaeology in the prescribed form, and

(b) contain a full and accurate description of the land on which it is proposed to carry out the excavation, the nature and extent of the proposed excavation, and such other particulars as may be prescribed.

8. Grant or refusal of licence to excavate.

The Director-General of Archaeology may in his discretion grant or refuse any application for a licence to excavate:

Provided that no such, licence shall be granted unless the Director-General of Archaeology is satisfied, after such inquiry as he may deem it necessary to make—

(a) that the owner of the land where the proposed excavation is to be made has consented to the excavation, and

(b) that the proposed excavation will not cause any damage or inconvenience to persons residing in the vicinity of such land, or to any place used for religious purposes, or to any cemetery, school, water source, irrigation work or public road, or that if any such damage is likely to be caused adequate provision has been made by the applicant for the payment of compensation therefor, and

(c) that the applicant is able to furnish security for the due observance by him of the provisions of this Ordinance or any regulation, and of any conditions subject to which the licence may be issued.

9. Terms of licence.

Every licence to excavate shall be issued in the prescribed form, subject to the payment of the prescribed fee and shall remain in force, subject to the provisions of section 11, during the period specified in the licence. Any such licence may contain, in addition to the prescribed conditions, such stipulations as the Director-General of Archaeology may deem necessary regarding—

(a) the supervision of the proposed excavation by any person approved by the Director-General of Archaeology for the purpose;

(b) the payment of remuneration to any such person not being a public officer, or the payment of the prescribed fee in respect of any service rendered by such person being a public officer; and

(c) the security to be furnished by the licensee for the due observance of the provisions of this Ordinance and of the terms and conditions subject to which the licence is issued.

10. Duty of licensee in respect of discoveries.

Every person to whom a licence to excavate is granted shall keep a record in the prescribed form of all antiquities discovered in the course of the excavation and shall, within the prescribed period from the date on which any antiquity is discovered, report the discovery thereof to the
Director-General of Archaeology and furnish to him the prescribed particulars in respect of the antiquity.

11. Withdrawal of licence without compensation.

Any licence to excavate may, at any time before the expiry of the period specified in the licence, be withdrawn by the Director-General of Archaeology and the licensee shall not be entitled to claim compensation for any loss or damage suffered or alleged to have been suffered by him by reason of such withdrawal.

12. Appeal against refusal or withdrawal of licence to excavate.

(1) Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the
Director-General of Archaeology to issue a licence to excavate or the withdrawal by the Director-General of Archaeology of any such licence may appeal against such refusal or withdrawal to the Minister.

(2) The decision of the Minister on any appeal preferred under subsection (1) shall be final and conclusive.

13. Immunity of State from claims for loss or damage.

The State shall incur no liability by reason of any loss sustained by any person or any damage caused to any person in the course of any excavation carried on under the authority of a licence granted under this Ordinance.

Discovery of Antiquities Otherwise than Under a Licence to Excavate

14. Discovery of antiquities otherwise than under licence to excavate.

(1) Every person who discovers any antiquity otherwise than under the authority of a licence to excavate—

(a) shall forthwith report the discovery to the nearest peace officer and, if it is practicable so to do, deliver the antiquity to such officer and obtain a receipt therefor from such officer, and

(b) shall, within seven days of the discovery, report the discovery, together with the prescribed particulars relating thereto, to the Government Agent of the district in which, the discovery was made.

1(2) It shall be the duty of the Government Agent to whom the discovery of any antiquity is reported under paragraph (b) of subsection (1), to communicate forthwith to the Director General of Archaeology the fact of such discovery together with the particulars furnished to him.

Offences Relating to Discovery of Antiquities

15. Offences relating to discovery of antiquities.

(1) Every person who—

(a) excavates in contravention of the provisions of section 6; or

(b) commits a breach of any condition of any licence issued under section 6; or

(c) fails to report the discovery of any antiquity in accordance with the provisions of section 10, or commits a breach of any other provision of that section; or

(d) fails to report the discovery of any antiquity in accordance with the provisions of section 14 or commits a breach of any other provision of that section; or

(e) knowing or having reason to believe that any antiquity has been excavated in contravention of the provisions of section 6, purchases or removes, or otherwise acquires or purports to acquire, any such antiquity, whether for himself or on account of or as agent for any other person,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction after summary trial before a Magistrate be liable to a fine not less than fifty thousand rupees and not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one year:

[S 15(1) am by First Sch of Act 12 of 2005.]

Provided that no person shall be liable to be convicted of an offence under paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) where the antiquity is, in the opinion of the court, insignificant or of trivial value;

Provided, further, that any person convicted of an offence under paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) in respect of any antiquity (other than an ancient monument), shall by virtue of such conviction, forfeit all claim or interest to or in that antiquity or the value thereof, and in any such case the Magistrate may order that the antiquity be delivered to the Director-General of Archaeology within such time as may be specified by the Magistrate;

and where the Magistrate makes such order, it shall be the duty of any person in whose possession that antiquity may be to deliver it within the specified time to the
Director-General of Archaeology

(2) If any person who has been ordered to deliver any antiquity to the Director-General of Archaeology under subsection (1) does not deliver such antiquity within the specified time the Magistrate may order the Fiscal or a peace officer to take immediate possession of such antiquity and deliver it to the Director-General of Archaeology.

Offences Relating to Theft and Destruction of Antiquities

15A. Offences relating to theft of antiquities.

Any person who commits theft within the meaning of section 366 of the Penal Code, in respect of antiquity, in the possession of any other person shall be guilty of an offence under this Ordinance and shall on conviction after summary trial before a Magistrate be liable to a fine not less than twenty five thousand rupees and not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not less than two years and not more than five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

[S 15A ins by s 4 of Act 24 of 1998; am by First Sch of
Act 12 of 2005.]

15B. Penalty for destruction of antiquity.

Any person who willfully destroys, injures, defaces or tampers with any antiquity or willfully damages any part of it, shall be guilty of an offence under this Ordinance and shall on conviction after summary trial before a Magistrate be liable to a fine not less than twenty five thousand rupees and not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not less than two years and not more than five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

[S 15B ins by s 4 of Act 24 of 1998; am by First Sch of
Act 12 of 2005.]

15C. Offences under Criminal Procedure Code.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979 or any other written law, no person charged with, or accused of an offence under this Ordinance shall be released on bail.

[S 15C ins by s 4 of Act 24 of 1998.]

15D. Evidence.

In a prosecution for an offence under this Ordinance, a certificate to be signed by the Director-General and to the effect that the object described therein is an antiquity, shall be admissible in evidence without further proof, and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.

[S 15D ins by s 4 of Act 24 of 1998.]

PART III

Ancient Monuments

16. Declaration of a monument in existence not less than hundred years as an ancient monument.

[Am by s 5(2) of Act 24 of 1998.]

(1) The Minister may by Order in writing declare that any specified monument which has existed or is believed to have existed for a period of not less than hundred years, shall, notwithstanding that such monument does not or is not believed to date to a period prior to the 2nd day of March, 1815, be deemed to be an ancient monument for the purposes of this Ordinance.

[S 16(1) am by s 5(1) of Act 24 of 1998.]

(2) Upon the publication in the Gazette of an Order under subsection (1), the monument to which the Order relates shall be deemed to be an ancient monument and all the provisions of this Ordinance relating to ancient monuments shall apply to that monument as if it were an ancient monument.

17. Declaration of specified trees as ancient monuments.

(1) Where it appears to the Minister that any tree, whether growing in State land or any other land, is of such historical or archaeological importance, that it is necessary in order to secure the preservation or protection of such tree that the provisions of this Ordinance relating to ancient monuments should apply to such tree, the Minister may, by Order in writing, declare that such tree shall be deemed to be an ancient monument for the purposes of this Ordinance.

(2) Upon the publication in the Gazette of an Order under subsection (1), the tree to which the Order relates shall be deemed to be an ancient monument and all the provisions of this Ordinance relating to ancient monuments shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to such tree as if it were an ancient monument.

18. Notification of protected monuments.

Where it appears to the Minister that any ancient monument situated on any land other than State land is in danger of destruction or removal, or damage from neglect or injudicious treatment, and that it is in the public interest that such monument should be protected, he may, subject to the provisions of section 19, by Order published in the Gazette, declare such monument to be a protected monument; and from the date of the publication of such Order, the monument to which the Order relates shall be a protected monument for the purposes of this Ordinance.

19. Previous notice of intention to declare an ancient monument to be a protected monument.

(1) No order under section 18 shall be made unless the Minister has given notice in the Gazette in accordance with the provisions of this section, of his intention to make such Order.

(2) Every notice under subsection (1) shall specify a date on or before which objections to the proposed Order will be received by the Director-General of Archaeology

(3) Every objection preferred in consequence of a notice under subsection (2) shall be made in writing and shall contain a statement of the grounds upon which the objection is made.

(4) The Director-General of Archaeology shall transmit all objections received by him together with his report thereon to the Minister.

(5) The Minister shall consider all objections transmitted under subsection (4) and may for the purpose of investigating any such objection make or cause to be made such inquiry as to him may seem necessary.

20. Agreements in regard to protected monuments.

(1) The owner of any land on which a protected monument is situated and the Director-General of Archaeology may enter into a written agreement providing for the due conservation of such monument and its protection from danger of destruction or removal and from damage by neglect or injudicious treatment.

(2) Every agreement entered into under subsection (1) shall be free of stamp duty.

21. No restoration of protected monument, except upon permit.

(1) No person shall, except under the authority and in accordance with the conditions of a permit issued by the Director-General of Archaeology or in accordance with an agreement entered into under section 20, commence or carry out any work of restoration, repair, alteration or addition in connection with any protected monument.

(2) Every permit under subsection (1) shall be issued in the prescribed form subject to the prescribed conditions and may contain such additional conditions as the Director-General of Archaeology may deem fit to insert therein regarding—

(a) the supervision of the proposed work by the Director-General of Archaeology or by any person approved by him for the purpose; and

(b) the payment of remuneration to any such person, not being a public officer , or the payment of the prescribed fee in respect of any service rendered by such person, being a public officer.

22. Refusal or revocation of permit under section 21.

(1) The Director-General of Archaeology may in his discretion—

(a) refuse to issue a permit under section 21 in any case in which he is of opinion that the applicant for such permit is unable to carry out and complete satisfactorily the work to authorise which such permit is applied for, or that such work is unnecessary;

(b) after notice in writing to the holder of any such permit revoke such permit, if he is of opinion that the work is not being carried out satisfactorily or in accordance with the conditions and restrictions subject to which such permit was issued.

(2) Any person aggrieved by the refusal or revocation, of any permit by the Director-General of Archaeology may appeal against such refusal or revocation to the Minister whose decision on any such appeal shall be final and conclusive.

23. Power of Commissioner-General of Archaeology to restore, repair protected monuments.

(1) Where a permit under section 21 has not been issued in respect of any protected monument, or where any such permit has been revoked, the Director- General of Archaeology may, with the approval of the Minister, carry out or cause to be carried out under and in accordance with his directions such work of restoration, repair, alteration or addition in connection with that monument as to him may seem expedient.

(2) It shall be the duty of the owner of any monument, in connection with which any work is authorised to be carried out under subsection (1), to permit the Director-General of Archaeology or any person acting under the directions of the Director-General of Archaeology to enter the land in which that monument is situated and to do all such acts as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out such work; and such owner shall not be entitled to claim compensation for any loss or damage suffered or alleged to have been suffered by him by reason of the execution of such work or any part of such work.

24. Prohibition or restriction of building, mining in vicinity of certain monuments.

(1) Regulations may be made prohibiting, or restricting subject to the prescribed conditions, the erection of buildings or the carrying on of mining, quarrying, or blasting operations on any land within the prescribed distance of any ancient monument situated on State land or any protected monument.

(2) Every regulation made under subsection (1) shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any other written law; but nothing in any such regulation shall permit or be deemed to permit the erection of any building or the carrying on of any operations mentioned in subsection (1) in contravention of any provision of such other law.

25. Claim for compensation by owner of land affected by regulations under section 24.

(1) The owner of any land affected by any prohibition or restriction in any regulation made under section 24 who suffers any loss or damage by reason of any such prohibition or restriction, may forward to the Director-General of Archaeology within the prescribed period a claim for compensation in respect of such loss or damage:

Provided, however, that where the owner of any land on which any ancient monument is situated commences the erection of any building or the carrying on of any mining, quarrying or blasting operations on such land after a notice of the intention to declare such monument to be a protected monument is published in the Gazette under section 19, he shall not be entitled to any compensation for any loss or damage suffered by reason of the prohibition or restriction of such erection or operations by any regulation made under section 24.

(2) Every claim made under subsection (1) shall specify—

(a) the amount of compensation claimed;

(b) the grounds on which the claim is based;

(c) the person chosen by the claimant as a member of the compensation Board to be established under section 26 in respect of that claim; and

(d) such other particulars as may be prescribed.

(3) The Director-General of Archaeology shall transmit every claim received by him under subsection (1) to the Minister and shall specify the person chosen by him as a member of the compensation Board to be established under section 26 in respect of that claim.

(4) No person who fails to make a claim under subsection (1) within the period prescribed for the purposes of that subsection shall be entitled to any compensation for any loss or damage for which a claim under that subsection might have been made, and no action in respect of any such loss or damage shall be entertained by any court or tribunal.

(5) Any compensation determined by a compensation Board under section 27 or, where an appeal is preferred to a District Court, by a District Court under section 30, shall be paid to the claimant out of funds provided by Parliament for the payment of compensation to claimants under this section.

26. Establishment of compensation Board.

(1) The Minister shall, on the receipt of any claim under section 25, establish a compensation Board (hereinafter referred to as "the Board”) and shall refer the claim to such Board.

(2) The Board shall consist of a Chairman, who shall be nominated by the Minister, and the two persons chosen by the claimant and the Director-General of Archaeology under section 25.

27. Decision of the Board after inquiry.

(1) The Board shall inquire into the claim referred to it under section 26 and give its decision as to the amount of compensation, if any, which shall be paid to the claimant.

(2) Where the Board is not unanimous in its decision, the decision of the majority of the members shall be the decision of the Board.

(3) Where a majority of the members of the Board are unable to agree on the decision, the decision of the Chairman shall be the decision of the Board.

28. Powers of the Board.

(1) For the purpose of holding any inquiry under section 27 shall have and may exercise the Board the same powers as a civil court in relation to—

(a) the enforcing of the attendance of any person and his examination on oath;

(b) the enforcing of the production of documents; and

(c) the issuing of commissions for the examination on interrogatories or otherwise of any person, and the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code shall, for the purpose of the exercise of such powers, apply to proceedings by or before the Board as if such Board were a court and such proceedings were an action instituted in a court under that Code.

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