New Delhi, April 9: In wake of bringing the Kohinoor diamond back to India which is now in the United Kingdom, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to clarify its stand on a PIL seeking return of Kohinoor diamond. The 105 carat diamond is one of the world's largest and is widely believed to have come from a mine in Andhra Pradesh.
A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, which did not issue notice on the PIL, asked the Solicitor General to seek instructions in the matter within a week. “Everybody is claiming the Kohinoor. How many countries are claiming Kohinoor? Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and even South Africa. Somebody here is also asking for the Kohinoor. Do you know about it,” the bench asked the Solicitor General.Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said he was unaware of it and would need time to seek instructions and get back. During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and UU Lalit, said there has been a press report attributing statements to the British Prime Minister quoting him as saying, “if we were to accept such demands, British Museums would be empty”. “Why don’t you approach the government? Hasn’t the government taken up the matter?” the bench told the petitioner.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front seeking directions to the High Commissioner of UK for returning the diamond among other treasures — “ring, talwar (sword) and other treasures of Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India.” The PIL has made the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh parties in the case.
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 back the diamond. The Solicitor General said in court that he would seek instruction from the government and will get back.
According to media reports, 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 from many days. The British Government in 2013 rejected the demands for the return of Kohinoor.