Skip to main content

Can't pass an order on reclaiming Kohinoor: Supreme Court

The Kohinoor fell into British hands during the colonial times and ever since then it has been at the centre of a historic ownership dispute. Photograph: (Zee News Network)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 21, 2017, 10.16 AM (IST)

India’s top court said on Friday that it cannot pass the order for reclaiming the Kohinoor from the United Kingdom or stop it from getting auctioned.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said it cannot ask a foreign government not to auction a property.

"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, that also included Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said, PTI reported. 

The court said "the Government of India continues to explore ways and means with the UK government on the issue.", referring to an affidavit filed by the government, PTI reported. 

Watch: William Dalrymple talks to WION on the legacy of the Kohinoor


A series of petitions filed by an NGO, the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front, and Heritage Bengal were tagged together by the apex court in 2016.

According to PTI, the plea had asserted that "India won independence in 1947. But successive governments at the Centre have made little or no attempt to bring back the Kohinoor diamond from United Kingdom to India, the place of its origin."

"The lackadaisical approach of 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 plead had said, PTI reported.

The Indian government had told the Supreme Court last year that the Kohinoor was neither "forcibly taken", nor "stolen" by British rulers but given to the East India Company by the rulers of Punjab.

The court had asked the government if it wanted to stake a claim to the Kohinoor. 

The centre replied  saying that the demand to get the Kohinoor back to India have been raised over and over again in the parliament.

The history of the Kohinoor, known to be one of the most valuable diamonds in the world, can be traced back to Southern India where it was found in the early 14th century.

It fell into British hands during the colonial times and ever since then it has been at the centre of a historic ownership dispute. It is claimed by four countries including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UK. Even the Taliban lays claim on it. 

The pleas had sought directions to the Indian High Commissioner in United Kingdom for the return of the diamond, besides several other treasures.

The NGOs PIL had also sought the "ring and talwar of Tipu Sultan and other treasures of Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India." 

Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh were made as parties in the case.

(WION with agency inputs)

Show Comments
  • delete