New Delhi: The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that the prestigious 105-carat Kohinoor diamond is India’s property but international conventions as well as the laws restrain it from making a rightful claim for its return from Britain.
In an affidavit submitted to the apex court on Tuesday, the Centre said that it is, however, devising ways and means as to whether the diamond could be brought back based on any agreement with the foreign country.
The Centre further stated that there was no concrete evidence to show that the diamond was validly gifted to Queen Victoria.
However, the Centre admitted that it was fully aware of the Indian public sentiment attached with the precious gem.
Making its stand clear on the issue, the government said that it did not have many legal options and would have to resort to diplomatic relations to seek its retrieval from Britain.
About the applicability of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, the government pointed out the country of origin of the antique could not invoke its right of retrieval if the article had left the country before the law came into force.
Also the UNESCO convention, the affidavit said, could not come to the aid since the convention was signed by the two countries much later than the diamond said to have been taken away.
The government said this in response to a notice by a bench led by Chief Justice T S Thakur which wanted to know whether the Indian government was taking any steps to retrieve the diamond.
A PIL had been filed earlier to instruct the government to ask for its return from the British High Commissioner.