19. Power of Central Government to compulsorily acquire antiquities and art treasures.-
(1) If the Central Government is of opinion that it is desirable to preserve any antiquity or art treasure in a public place, that Government may make an order for the compulsory acquisition of such antiquity or art treasure.
(2) On the making of an order under sub-section (1) the Collector of the district in which such antiquity or art treasure is kept shall give notice to the owner thereof intimating him of the decision of the Central Government to acquire the same and it shall be lawful for the Collector to take possession of such antiquity or art treasure, for which purpose the Collector may use such force as may be necessary.
(3) Where the owner of any antiquity or art treasure the possession of which has been taken over by the Collector under sub-section (2) objects to the taking over of such possession, he may, within a period of thirty days from the date on which such possession was taken over, make a representation to the Central Government putting forth his objections: Provided that the Central Government may entertain the representation after the expiry of the said period of thirty days, if it is satisfied that the owner of such antiquity or art treasure was prevented by sufficient cause from making the representation in time.
(4) On receipt of any representation under sub-section (3), the Central Government, after making such inquiry as it deems fit and after giving to the objector an opportunity of being heard in the matter, shall, within a period of ninety days from the date of receipt of the representation, either rescind or confirm the order made by it under sub-section (1).
(5) Where any order made by the Central Government under sub-section (1) is rescinded under sub-section (4) the antiquity or art treasure shall be returned to the owner thereof without delay and at the expense of the Central Government.
(6) Where the order made by the Central Government under sub-section (1) is confirmed under sub-section (4) the antiquity or art treasure shall vest in the Central Government with effect from the date on which the possession thereof has been taken over by the Collector under sub-section (2).
(7) The power of compulsory acquisition conferred by this section shall not extend to any object, being an antiquity or art treasure, used for bona fide religious observances.
Explanation.-In this section, "public place" means any place which is open to the use of the public, whether on payment of fees or not, or whether it is actually used by the public or not.