The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has sought to know the status of courses in archaeology in universities and if they are being conducted properly. To ascertain the same, the court has suo motu impleaded the Registrars of Tamil University, Thanjavur, and University of Madras, Chennai.
Hearing a batch of public interest litigation petitions pertaining to archaeological excavations in the State, a Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi sought to know whether there were vacancies in the teaching staff for the archaeological courses and if so how many such posts were vacant.
The Deputy Director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department R. Sivanandam said that courses in archaeology were available in the two universities and students were interested in Archaeology and Epigraphy. There is scope for them in the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department and the Archaeological Survey of India, he submitted.
The court also wanted the State to take a decision on the proposal sent by the State Archaeological Department with regard to the appointment of 50 caretakers at various monuments in the State. Already 50 such caretakers have been appointed to safeguard the monuments, the court was informed.
The judges observed that with regard to the emoluments to the caretakers, the government has prescribed ₹ 5,000 as consolidated pay. These caretakers are required to stay at the monuments for about 12 hours a day. The emoluments should be fixed appropriately to fix a certain accountability and responsibility on the caretakers.
Further, the court took cognisance of the fact that the erection of name boards about the archaeological sites in important junctions like bus stands, railway stations and airports was yet to be carried out. Therefore steps must be taken to carry out the same, the judges said. The case was adjourned till December 18.