New Delhi, April 18: In a major move, 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 as 'it was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away.' Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the government, said this was the stand of the Culture Ministry. "Ministry of External Affairs is also a party and their response is yet to come," he informed the court.
Ranjit also told the apex court that the Kohinoor diamond was handed over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the East India Company. Chief Justice T.S Thakur asked the Centre if it wants the case to be dismissed as they would face a problem in the future when putting forward any legitimate claim. The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to file a detailed reply within six weeks, media agencies reported.
The diamond was, by force, made to be presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, by the Marquess of Dalhousie, the British governor-general of Punjab. The people have been demanding the return of the 105-carat stone for years. The British Government had in 2013 rejected demands for the return of the Kohinoor.
The apex court had on April 9 asked the Centre to disclose its stand on bringing back the diamond. The apex court made this observation while hearing a petition filed by All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front. The petition had said that the government was not making efforts to bring the diamond back. The Solicitor General said that he would seek an instruction from the government and then inform the court.