New Delhi: Italian
Ambassador Daniele Mancini has lost its "trust", the Supreme Court
said Monday and barred him from leaving India. The judges said a
person who comes and gives an undertaking before court could not
claim diplomatic immunity.
The court directed Indian authorities to comply with its March 14
order restraining Mancini from leaving the country.
An apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Anil
R. Dave and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, while extending its
earlier order restraining Mancini from leaving the country, said a
person who came here and gave an undertaking could not claim
Giving vent to its displeasure over the manner in which the
Italian government conducted itself over issue, Chief Justice
Kabir said: "Some people are writing that we are naive."
"We don't expect the government of republic of Italy to behave
like this. What do they think about our courts and judicial
system? We don't accept any assurance from you that you don't
intend to leave (India). You have lost our trust," he said.
The court brushed aside the contention of Mancini's senior counsel
Mukul Rohatgi that the ambassador enjoyed diplomatic immunity and
said that he had given an assurance which had to be honoured.
As Rohtagi sought to persuade the court that his client enjoyed
diplomatic immunity, Chief Justice Kabir said: "We will look into
The development follows Rome's refusal to send back two Italian
marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone to face trial
for killing two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Valentine, off
Kerala coast Feb 15, 2012, mistaking them for pirates.
The court will hear the case next April 2.
Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati earlier took the judges through
the sequence of events leading to the court permitting the two
marines to return to their country for four weeks so that they
could exercise their franchise in Italy's national elections and
be with their families.
As Vahanvati mentioned the assurance given by the Italian
ambassador on the return of the two marines, the court said that
its orders permitting the two marines to go back to their country
for four weeks were yet to be violated, as the deadline for them
to return was fixed for March 23.
Vahanvati informed the court of a "Note Verbale" the external
affairs ministry had received from Italian embassy March 15, which
pointed to the obligation of the host country (India) to protect
the diplomatic agent under the Vienna Convention.
Referring to the provisions of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic
Relations, 1961, the note said: "Any restriction to the freedom of
movement of the ambassador of Italy to India, including any
limitation to his right of leaving the Indian territory, will be
contrary to the international obligations of the receiving state
to respect his person, freedom, dignity and function."
In an obvious pointer to the March 14 apex court order restraining
the ambassador from leaving India, the note said: "The Embassy of
Italy expects therefore that the ministry of external affairs will
ensure full compliance with the privileges and immunities
contemplated in the convention, and provide reassurance that no
Indian authority shall impose or implement restrictive measures on
the personal freedom of his excellency the ambassador."
The note also said that the external affairs ministry would take
all the measures for protecting the personal safety of Mancini and
that of its other diplomatic staff.
It also sought the security of its diplomatic premises, including
those at Mumbai and Kolkata, and the other premises being used by
Italy claims the shooting incident occurred in international
waters and wants to get Latorre and Girone tried in its courts.
India says the trial should occur here, and set up a special court
in the national capital to try the case.