A demand for getting back the Kohinoor diamond from Britain and giving it to the Jagannath Temple in Puri, as had been willed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was made in the Rajya Sabha today.
Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, Bhupinder Singh (BJD) said Maharaja Ranjit Singh had willed that the Kohinoor diamond be given to Jagannath Temple as Guru Nanak Dev had visited Puri and mentioned about the diety in the holy book of Guru Granth Saheb.
He demanded that the diamond be brought back and restored to whom the Maharaja had willed it to be given.
The Centre had recently told the Supreme Court that the heirs of Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave the 105-carat Kohinoor to the British as “voluntary compensation” to cover the expenses of the Anglo-Sikh Wars. The diamond is on display at the Tower of London. The BJD leader said it was incorrect to say that the heirs of Maharaja Ranjit Singh had converted to Christianity and offered the diamond to British. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said every member “will be happy is Kohinoor is brought back.” Also read: British took Kohinoor by force, but so did the Indians: William Dalrymple explains complex history of diamond P L Punia (Cong) raised the issue of shortage of judges in courts saying the country had 17 judges per 10 lakh population as against a requirement of 50 judges. The shortage of judges was impacting speedy delivery of justice, he said, adding that judges spent between 2 to 15 minutes on a case. He demanded that the collegium system of appointing judges must be scrapped and replaced by a transparent system of appointment and vacancies filled up at earliest. Also, an ‘All India Judicial Service’ be set up and reservation to SC, ST and OBCs given at all levels of judicial appointments, he said. Once these things are done, “Chief Justice of India will not have to cry in front of the Prime Minister,” he said alluding to the Chief Justice almost breaking down in front of Narendra Modi recently over vacancies in judiciary.