India should not stake claim to the famed $200 million Kohinoor diamond as “it was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away”, the centre told the Supreme Court on Monday.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the government on Monday, said this was the stand of the Culture Ministry. He also told the court that the 105-karat Kohinoor diamond was handed over to the East India Company by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Incidentally, in 1850, the Marquess of Dalhousie, who was the British governor-general of Punjab, forced Punjab’s Maharaja Ranjit Singh to ‘gift’ the diamond to Queen Victoria in 1850.
Solicitor General Kumar on Monday also also said the response of the Ministry of External Affairs on this issue is yet to come.
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to file a detailed reply within six weeks.
The court had on April 9 asked the Centre to clearly state its position on bringing back the diamond. It was hearing a petition filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front.
At the time, Chief Justice T.S Thakur asked the Centre if it is clear that it wants the case to be dismissed, because the government would face a problem if it claimed the diamond in the future.
People have been demanding the return of the 105-carat stone for decades now.
The British Government had in 2013 rejected demands for the return of the Kohinoor.