The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government to inform it about the steps being taken to maintain the original handwritten scripts of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Jotiba Phule.
Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Shrikant D Kulkarni were hearing a suo motu PIL regarding a stalled project to publish the writings and speeches of Ambedkar.
On February 2, the HC had asked the government to inform it about the composition, remuneration and facilities provided to the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Source Material Publication Committee, which undertakes such works. It had also sought to know the status of the project initiated by the state government on publication of works of social reformist Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad.
On Thursday, Government Pleader Purnima H Kantharia said that the state’s reply is ready but it will be filed after getting approval from the concerned department.
Advocate Swaraj Jadhav, who is assisting the court, told HC that most of the original handwritten manuscripts were stored in a 300 sq ft room in a building at Ballard Estate in Mumbai and with the onset of monsoon and poor storage facilities, the documents may get spoiled, leading to “permanent irreversible damage”.
Kantharia, however, said that the government is taking all measures to ensure that the scripts are moved and kept in proper storage facilities. Details of the same have been mentioned in the affidavit, which will be filed in due course.
The HC granted two weeks to the state to file an affidavit in reply. It posted the next hearing after four weeks.