Article 49 of the Indian Constitution reflects on the preservation of the country’s historical and aesthetic beauties. This article argues for the designation of Indian monuments, artefacts, and locations as national treasures. More tourism attractions result in an increase in foreign visitors. As a consequence, the government will benefit financially and gain foreign currency.

What does Article 49 states ?

Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance

  • The state shall endeavor to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interests, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be
Article 49 in depth
  1. Obligation of the State :- Article 49 mandates the State to protect and preserve monuments, places, or objects of historic interest declared of national importance . This constitutional provision reflects the government’s commitment to safeguarding India’s cultural and historical heritage.
  2. Safeguarding from Spoliation and Destruction :- The article mandates the State to prevent any spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal, or export of such monuments and objects.
  3. Role of Legislation :- Recognizing the importance of enacting appropriate laws, one such legislation is The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, which empowers the government to identify, designate, and protect monuments and sites of national importance.
  4. Preservation of Cultural Heritage :- The preservation of monuments and objects of national importance is crucial for the continuity of India’s cultural heritage. These historical sites represent the nation’s identity, tell stories of the past, and contribute to a sense of shared history among citizens.
  5. Promotion of Cultural Tourism :- Protected monuments attract tourists worldwide, boosting cultural tourism and local economies. Preserving these heritage sites promotes appreciation for India’s rich heritage among travelers.
  6. Cultural Diplomacy :- Well-preserved monuments and cultural heritage sites showcase India’s diversity and historical achievements globally, contributing to cultural diplomacy.
  7. Awareness and Education :- Article 49 encourages the promotion of awareness and education about India’s cultural heritage. Initiatives like educational programs, museum exhibitions, and heritage walks enhance public knowledge and appreciation of historical treasures.
  8. Role of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) :- The ASI, plays a pivotal role in implementing the provisions of Article 49. It is responsible for the conservation, preservation, and maintenance of centrally protected monuments and archaeological sites.
Landmark cases regarding Article 49

M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (1996)

The Supreme Court addressed Delhi’s air pollution and its impact on the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The court emphasized on the protection and preservation of the cultural heritage of India, including iconic monuments like the Taj Mahal. The case highlighted the relevance of Article 49 in ensuring the preservation of historical sites for future generations. 

Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights v. Union of India (2007)

The case primarily focused on encroachments and illegal constructions around historical monuments in Delhi, notably the Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb. The Supreme Court reiterated the significance of Article 49 in protecting and preserving heritage sites. The case emphasized the state’s responsibility to prevent encroachments and maintain the integrity of historical monuments.


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