Seeking such centre to be set up in the lines of Epigraphy Branch (Arabic and Persian Inscriptions) at Nagpur, a division bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran (since Retd) and Justice M Duraiswamy said “The inscriptions are the primary sources for reconstructing the history of the people, society, economic conditions, religion, water system and irrigational management etc. They shed more light on the past history of the Tamils.”
Based on this, the court directed the Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), to transfer all the estampages and other connected Tamil documents and inscriptions from Mysuru to Southern Zone Epigraphy Branch, Chennai or to the proposed separate Office of Epigraphy Branch (Tamil) within six months.
While seeking ASI to appoint required number of Epigraphists and other Officials according to the number of inscriptions in each language, the bench sought the Tamil Nadu Government to provide all the infrastructures for Epigraphy Branch (Tamil), as per the court order.
“The Central Government and the ASI shall allocate more funds for Epigraphy Division of ASI for Research and Preservation of Estampages and other materials within six months,” the bench held.
It also sought for sanction of at least 100 posts to the Epigraphy Division of ASI, as it allotted only 38 posts to Epigraphy Division out of 738 posts created and sanctioned for ASI.
Justifying its stand on directing the shifting of the Centre to Chennai, the bench held “A full-fledged Office for Tamil Inscriptions will solve the problem of new findings which are yet to be discovered in remote places of Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country. New discoveries can be motivated through the Tamil Wing at Chennai. Publications and Digitalization will be easy in Chennai rather than in Mysuru, as all the modern technologies are available at Chennai to speed up the work.”
“The very purpose of the establishment of Epigraphy Wing in the year 1887 by ASI under E. Hultszch at Chennai would be accomplished through shifting of estampages in Tamil at Chennai, as it was founded by the British,” the bench added.