Century-old stamps, envelopes are ‘antiquities’, says Delhi High Court

November 07, 2022 01:39 am | Updated 01:39 am IST - NEW DELHI

The plea sought to ease the procedure involved in exporting philatelic exhibits outside the countrt.

The plea sought to ease the procedure involved in exporting philatelic exhibits outside the countrt. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO


Philatelic exhibits such as stamps, stamp papers and envelopes of more than a century’s vintage are antiquities, the Delhi High Court said in a judgment delivered on November 4.

The court’s observation came while rejecting a petition by a philatelist Ajay Kumar Mital who argued that philatelic material around 100 years and older is not an antiquity under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act (AATA), 1972.

Mr. Mital, in his petition, had sought to ease the procedure involved in the export of philatelic exhibits outside the country. He submitted that if carriage of philatelic exhibits abroad is to be subjected to the rigour of a 1999 Department of Culture’s (DOC) guidelines and the provisions of the AATA, participation in exhibitions abroad would become almost impossible. “The very fact that international exhibitions are held for such connoisseurs, indicates clearly that philatelic exhibits are of great value. A postage stamp of 1900 vintage which, at that time, may have been used and thrown away would, if found a hundred years later, have increased its value a thousand-fold,” Justice C. Hari Shankar said.

The Judge added that philately is a hobby of the discerning connoisseur, who appreciates the intrinsic value of vintage stamps and other such documents. The court also rejected Mr. Mital’s petition to simplify the procedure to get a No Objection Certificate and Temporary Export Permit for exporting philatelic exhibits by resorting to a “one window procedure”.

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