New Delhi : In a stunner that upsets the almost 70 year old demand for the return of the ‘150 million pound-105 carat diamond’ Koh-i-Noor, the has told the Supreme Court that it was neither “forcibly taken” nor “stolen” by the British rulers and hence India should not try to ‘‘reclaim it.”
During the course of a hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur: ”Koh-i-Noor cannot said to have been forcibly taken or stolen as it was given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company in 1849 as compensation for helping them in the Sikh wars. If we claim our treasures like the Koh-i-Noor from other countries, every other nation will start claiming their items from us. There will be nothing left in our museums.”
It was neither “forcibly taken” nor “stolen” by the British and hence India should not try to ‘‘reclaim it.”
Kumar said that this was the stand of Ministry of Culture while the response from Ministry of External Affairs, which is also a party, is awaited. At this, the bench, also comprising Justice U U Lalit, asked him to file a detailed reply within six weeks. “We would like to know if there is a claim the government wants to make. See, we are not inclined to dismiss this plea. If we dismiss it, that country (United Kingdom) may say that your Supreme Court has rejected the plea and it may lead to denial of the government’s legitimate claim. You cannot afford dismissal as it may be treated as an obstruction in your way. You formulate a response and file it in six weeks,” the bench observed.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front seeking directions to the Indian High Commissioner in United Kingdom for the return of the diamond, besides several other treasures. The PIL has made Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh as parties in the case. It has also sought return of the “ring and sword’ of Tipu Sultan and other treasures belonging to him as well as Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India.
New Delhi: The NDA Government on Monday told the Supreme Court that as per the Ministry of Culture, India should not stake a claim to the famed Kohinoor diamond