Reclaiming Kohinoor not our jurisdiction, says SC

April 21, 2017 12:57 pm | Updated 09:13 pm IST - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to further dwell on a petition seeking a judicial declaration to bring the Kohinoor diamond back from the United Kingdom, leaving the task to the wisdom and efforts of the government.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar questioned how petitions seeking the return of properties lying with a foreign government find their way into the Supreme Court, which has no jurisdiction whatsoever over such matters, that are best left to international diplomacy rather than the judiciary.

The court said it cannot direct the United Kingdom on what to do with the Kohinoor diamond. The court was hearing a petition filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Front against the High Commissioner of the UK.


"We are quite surprised that such petitions are filed. What kind of a writ petition is this?" Chief Justice Khehar asked, disposing of the petition.

In a recent affidavit, the ministry said it was “continuing to explore ways for a satisfactory resolution” over the diamond with the UK. The affidavit had said the issue of the Kohinoor was “taken up time and again since the Independence”.

The affidavit said the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972, which prevents the export of precious articles and treasures from the country, was toothless as the British East India Company confiscated the Kohinoor from the boy king Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849 — "it is a known historical fact".

The restitution of Kohinoor would require a “special agreement” between both countries.

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