Kerala based professor and academician Dr. PJ Cherian has moved the Delhi High Court against the decision of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to withdraw its earlier decision to grant approval to him for excavation at Pattanam and Mathilakam sites in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts (Dr. PJ Cherian vs. Union of India & Anr.).In a petition filed through advocates Sriram Parakkat, Aditi Mohan and Sarath S Janardanan, Cherian challenged the letter which retrospectively revoked the approval granted to him for excavation at certain sites in Kerala.Cherian's primary contention was that he was not given any opportunity to be heard before the decision to revoke permission was taken.The withdrawal of the approval was in violation of natural justice and was done on the basis of baseless allegations, it was contended.On March 15,2021, Cherian had submitted an application for carrying out excavation at Pattanam and Mathilakam in the delta region of Periyar and Chalakkudy rivers in Kerala for a project called 'PAMA Excavations at Pattanam and Mathilakam in Kerala' which was driven with the aim of locating early historic satellite settlements, burial sites and other archaeological remain in the delta region etc.The 'Pattanam Excavations' were the first ever multi-disciplinary excavations undertaken in the state' of Kerala.Pattanam lies between Kodungallur and North Paravur in the Periyar delta. Since the year 2007, archaeological excavations were undertaken by the Kerala Council For Historical Research (KCHR). The main objective of the excavation was to search for archaeological evidence that would help to locate/identify an early historic urban settlement and the ancient Indo-Roman port of Muziris or Musiri on the Malabar coast.The petitioner, PJ Cherian is a senior academician and Archaeologist of International repute from the state of Kerala, having Ph.D degree in History and has received Senior Research Fellowship in Archaeology from the University of Oxford. The ASI had approved his application for excavation through an order dated June 4, 2021. The order also stated that the approval would last until September 30, 2021.On the basis of the said order, Dr. Cherian and his team started the excavation process. Cherian subsequently requested the ASI to extend the deadline due to the hardships caused by Covid-19 restrictions and monsoon season.However, in September when ASI finally responded to Cherian, it withdrew the permission for excavation citing alleged unauthorized use of ASI logo and collection of internship fees against ASI norms."The Archaeological Survey of India Vide Letter dated 03.09.2021 withdrew the permission granted on 04.06.2021 with immediate effect by alleging that logo and name of ASI was used without its approval and internship fee was collected against the norms of research supported by ASI. It is submitted that the permission was withdrawn by the 2nd respondent without even giving a notice or a hearing to the petitioner herein," the petition stated.Thereafter, Cherian replied to these allegations stating they had no factual basis. He then moved the High Court against the revocation letter. He also prayed for continuation of the permission to carry out excavation in the meantime, as per the order dated June 4..The matter is tentatively listed before the Delhi High Court on September 27.