Can’t order UK to return Kohinoor, can’t monitor govt’s efforts to bring it back either: SC
The Supreme Court on Friday said that it cannot pass an order to bring back the Kohinoor diamond which is in the possession of the United Kingdom or ask them not to auction it.
The observation was made by a bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar which dismissed a petition by the All India Human Rights and Social Justice seeking directions for bringing back the diamond.
Khehar said: "We are quite surprised.. how can an Indian court pass an order to bring something which is in the UK?"
The bench further said: "Can we say England should not auction some property?"
The court said this as the petitioner NGO sought direction that the UK should not auction the diamond.
Disposing of the petition, the bench also said that it was satisfied with the government's response that it was making efforts to get the diamond back.
The apex court had earlier entertained the petitions and had asked the Centre to reply about the steps it is taking to reclaim the diamond.
The Centre did reply today about its efforts to reclaim the Kohinoor, and the SC accepted the Centre's answer that it is exploring ways to bring back the $200 million (approx. Rs 1,300 crore) gem.
In April 2016, the government had told the Supreme Court that the diamond was “neither forcibly taken nor stolen” but given as a “gift” to the East India Company by the rulers of Punjab.
Last July, it was reported that the government is likely to approach Britain soon to get back the famed diamond which is currently set in a royal crown on display in the Tower of London. A high-level meeting at the time also discussed the possibility of signing a treaty with the UK which would assure Britain that India wouldn't claim any other Indian artefacts that are in British museums, PTI reported.
In fact, in 2010, the then UK Prime Minister David Cameron, on a visit to India, reportedly said that if Britain agrees to return the diamond, "you (would) suddenly find the British Museum empty."