The Supreme Court (SC) mentioned that it cannot pass an order on reclaiming the Kohinoor from the United Kingdom (UK), or stop it from being auctioned.
The plea was rejected on bringing back the Kohinoor diamond back to India. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Jagadish Singh Khehar said it cannot ask a foreign government not to auction a property. The apex court also made it clear that it cannot pass any order with regard to a property, which was in other country. The bench also included Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul.
“We are quite surprised that such petitions are filed for properties which are in the USA and the UK. What kind of a writ petition is this,” the bench commented. The affidavit was filed by the Centre and the apex court said “the Indian Government tries to explore ways and means with the UK government on the issue.”
Last year, the petitions were filed by an NGO, the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front, and Heritage Bengal, a registered organization. The plea stated that, “The country won independence in the year 1947. But, the consecutive governments at the Centre, have made little or no attempts to bring back the jewel from UK to India, the place of its origin.” “Whenever such issues have been raised, the Central government, maintained on the grounds of Parliament or in reply to the Right to Information (RTI) queries. The government said that the jewel is an Indian artifact, but also claims for repatriation, thereof cannot be made for the same is not covered under the UNESCO Convention, 1972.”
The court had said, “The careless approach of the successive governments in making positive and meaningful diplomatic parleys has not been in national interest. All attempts on the part of the petitioners and other right-thinking persons to activate the Central Government have failed.” The Centre had earlier said the SC, that Kohinoor was neither “forcibly taken”, nor “stolen” by British rulers, but given to the East India Company by the rulers of Punjab. The apex court had then asked whether the government was willing to outline a claim to the Kohinoor, one of the most precious diamonds in the world. The Centre had then said that the demand to get back Kohinoor have been raised time and again in Parliament.
Kohinoor which implies, “Mountain of Light” is a large, colorless diamond that was found in Southern India in early 14th century. During the colonial-era, the 108-carat Kohinoor gem, which fell into British hands is the subject of a historic ownership dispute and claimed by at least four countries including India. The petitions had sought directions to the Indian High Commissioner besides several other treasures, in the UK, for the return of the diamond. The Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh were made as parties in the case. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of the NGO, also sought return of the ring and talwar along with other treasures of Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India.