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SC dismisses PIL on bringing back Kohinoor from UK

Ashish Tripathi, DH News Service, New Delhi, Apr 21 2017, 13:55 IST
 The court made it clear it could not pass an order with regard to a property which was in another country. Picture courtesy Twitter

The court made it clear it could not pass an order with regard to a property which was in another country. Picture courtesy Twitter

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking direction to the Union government for bringing back Kohinoor diamond from the United Kingdom.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar noted that the government was already making diplomatic efforts for it.

"We cannot regulate or supervise it," said the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, also rejecting the plea for stopping the probable auction of the diamond.

The government had earlier claimed its ownership over 'Kohinoor' diamond on the basis of historical evidence.

The government has also said it would make all efforts for “satisfactory resolution” of the issue with the United Kingdom.

Taking the government's plea into consideration, the court dismissed the PIL by All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front demanding efforts to bring back the 108-carat gem.

Holding that it understands the sentiment of Indian people attached with 'Kohinoor', the government had maintained that India's credentials regarding ownership of Kohinoor based on historical evidence cannot be doubted.

It had also said Kohinoor was gifted as “compensation” in the 19 th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the British for the help rendered by them in Anglo-Sikh war.

The government also relied upon Article 15 of the UNESCO convention, 1970, to which the UK is also signatory, that allowed the states to seek restitution of removed cultural property by entering into special agreement.

“Kohinoor, as also other Indian artifacts, manuscripts and items of artistic and historical value that are presently in the UK, are a significant expression of India's historical heritage. Kohinoor is an Indian artifact that was located for most of its history within the political and geographical boundaries of India...the government of India continues to explore ways and means for obtaining satisfactory resolution to the issue with the UK government,” the Culture Ministry said.


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