The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it cannot force the Britain to return the famous diamond Kohinoor as it was not stolen by the British but was in fact gifted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The Centre’s reply comes after the apex court had asked the government to clarify its stand on a PIL seeking return of Kohinoor diamond in the country. The reply is contradictory to the stand taken by the RSS.
The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by All India Human Rights & Social Justice Front seeking directions to the High Commissioner of United Kingdom for return of the diamond besides several other treasures.
Citing a 43-year-old law that does not allow the government to bring back antiquities taken out of the country before independence, the Centre’s counsel, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, told the apex court that the diamond was handed over to the East India Company by Maharaja Ranjit Singh after he lost in the 1849 Sikh War.
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 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.”