ibnlive » India

Mar 15, 2013 at 08:48am IST

Can India restrain Italian envoy without breaching Vienna Convention?

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday sent a notice to Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini restraining him from leaving the country. But the question is whether the Indian government can really restrain the Italian ambassador from leaving the country without breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Experts believe that enforcing the Supreme Court order will be tricky because the ambassador enjoys inviolable immunity against detention or arrest. Former diplomat MK Bhadrakumar said, "Unless there is a waiver from Rome, the ambassador's status cannot be touched at all and he enjoys full immunity. But we have to be realistic here. I think the Italian side would have foreseen these kinds of developments coming up and they would have probably chalked out even four or five steps further ahead and they would have drawn up their back up plan," former diplomat MK Bhadrakumar said.

ALSO SEE Marines issue: SC asks Italian envoy not to leave, Govt reviews ties

Under the terms of the Vienna Convention, the Supreme Court order cannot be enforced by the government, without breaching the Vienna convention. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, Article 29:

The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.

Vienna Convention by Nelson Brock