Former counsel for the Italian marines in the Kerala fishermen killings case, Harish Salve has said that there is no legal bar or immunity to the Italian ambassador, Daniel Mancini, from being arrested by the Supreme Court.
The Italian envoy had assured the apex court that the marines would return from Italy after partaking in the elections there, to face trial in Kerala. However, Italy refused to send the duo back.
Salve was speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate. Below is the full transcript of the interview.
Karan Thapar: The reason why the court understood the frustration of the Italians, particularly the marines who had been detained without really facing charges, without a court to try them, the government delaying setting up the court and therefore when they were being held here, one didn't know what their status was. If the court could understand all of that in February, might that understanding not apply now?
Harish Salve: It is said in the law that even an injunction or undertaking to a court which has no jurisdiction, if breached, you are in contempt.
Karan Thapar: So the real problem is that the Italian ambassador breached a solemn undertaking and he is in contempt of the court and he will find it very hard explain, leave aside satisfy the court, why he breached a solemn undertaking.
Harish Salve: Absolutely.
Karan Thapar: Will the court take action against him?
Harish Salve: They will. We have to wait and see.
Karan Thapar: Whatever that action is by your interpretaion of the situation, it is enforceable. Enforcing it won't be a breach of vienna Convention.
Harish Salve: Our Constitution commands everybody will act in aid and directions of the Supreme Court.
Karan Thapar: Very quickly, could then the Italian ambassador end up in jail?
Harish Salve: Theoretically, yes.
Karan Thapar: But in practical likelihood?
Harish Salve: Depends on how they want to deal with him. But they can if they want to send him to jail.