The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition asking it to bring back the Kohinoor diamond to India or stop it from being auctioned, ANI reported. An apex court bench, led by Chief Justice JS Khehar, said that it did not have the authority to ask a foreign government, the United Kingdom in this case, to hand over the artefact.
“We are quite surprised that such petitions are filed for properties that are in the United States and the United Kingdom. What kind of a writ petition is this,” the bench, also comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul, said, according to the news agency.
The Supreme Court referred to an affidavit filed by the Centre which said that India was looking for ways and means to bring the diamond back to the country, The Hindu reported on Friday. The petitions, filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front, and Heritage Bengal, were tagged together by the court last year, the English daily added.
The diamond, among one of the most precious in the world, has long been a matter of some dispute between India and Britain. While New Delhi has urged the United Kingdom to return the diamond, which it considers to be among the spoils of colonialism, London has been unresponsive to the demand.
After the subjugation of Punjab in 1849 by the British forces, the properties of the Sikh Empire were confiscated and the Kohinoor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. Later, the diamond was shipped to Britain and handed to Queen Victoria in July 1850. It was cut to improve its brilliance and mounted into Queen Victoria’s crown. The diamond now sits in the tower of London along with the Crown Jewels.