Delhi HC seeks government response on safeguarding Mahatma relics

New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has sought central government’s response on a plea seeking direction for government to take over the management of the National Gandhi Museum and other museums to safeguard the historic items related to Mahatma Gandhi.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw sought response from ministry of culture and Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya Samiti, which now manages the National Gandhi Museum in the capital, on the plea by April 8.

During the hearing, the advocate appearing for the central government told the court that the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya Samiti is an independent body and government has no control over it.

The bench had earlier asked the government to appraise it with the steps it has taken for taking over the management of the National Gandhi Museum and other museums.

The plea, filed by advocates G.L. Verma and J.K. Nayyar, has asked the court that along with National Gandhi Museum, the central government should take over the management of other museums at Madurai, Patna, Barrackpore and Mumbai, due to alleged grave financial irregularities besides disappearance of rare Gandhian legacy items.

The advocates argued that to safeguard rare letters, films, photographs, books, cine-files, voice records, personal belongings and other historic items related to Gandhi, the central government should take over the museum from the Samiti.

The plea alleged that “there have been grave financial irregularities apart from disappearance of rare Gandhian legacy, including rare letters, films, photographs, historic items such as blood-stained clothes of and lathis used by Mahatma Gandhi during Dandi March as all of them have been either replaced or damaged”.

It said that no action has been taken on the recommendations of Justice P.D. Kudal Commission, set up in 1981 to inquire into the fiscal irregularities and mismanagement of Gandhi National Museum, being run under the aegis of the Samiti.

In its 1986 report, the Kundal Commission indicted the governing body and trustees of the Samiti for showing complete ignorance about the various malpractices going on in the National Gandhi Museum and the loss and damage caused to th e sacred relics of Father of the Nation.

“The past record of activities of Samiti would firmly establish that it did nothing to take Gandhism ahead and to add legacies of Gandhi which are scat tered all over the world. While relics of historic importance were being auctioned in foreign countries, it did nothing to collect relics from different countries of the world to enrich the museum nor did they hold any activi ty to spread the lofty ideals which Gandhi preached. On the contrary, it failed to preserve whatever was available,” the plea said.


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