Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Open Season on Indian Diplomats

The Supreme Court of India, with the support of the Attorney General, has declared that Diplomats have no diplomatic immunity from arrest for Contempt of Court.  Since Diplomatic privileges are not granted unilaterally but on the basis of reciprocity, it follows that Indian diplomats abroad can be arrested for Contempt of Court. Anyone can now bring an action against any Indian diplomat for any reason at all. The Indian diplomats will either
a) refuse to appear on grounds of diplomatic immunity in which case the Court can decide to hold them in Contempt and order their arrest
b) appear in Court and be forced to truthfully answer questions prejudicial to Indian Security and National Interest on penalty of being held in contempt or jailed for perjury.
Clearly, National Security would dictate that no person with sensitive information be posted abroad by India. Foreign powers would in any case wish to downgrade relations with India because of its egregious and senseless breach of Diplomatic immunity.  A good thing surely? However, things wouldn't stop there. India would be downgraded as a place to Invest, do business, or permit to have jurisdiction over contracts. Fine, if India had a Balance of Payments surplus, was self sufficient in Defense Technology and had the backing of a large number of nations (for example on the basis of common Religion, language or ethnicity) in the U.N. But this patently is not the case.
Still, prosecuting Indian Diplomats should be good fun. Try it next time the Visa clerk doesn't sing Jana Gana Mana as he stamps your passport.

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