HC: United Nations not a State under Article 12

‘Not amenable to our jurisdiction’

Published - May 20, 2019 01:09 am IST - New Delhi

The Delhi High Court has ruled that the United Nations is not a State under Article 12 of the Constitution of India and is not amenable to its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait gave the decision while adjudicating a plea filed by a former UNO employee who was found guilty of misconduct.

Sanjaya Bahel, convicted by a US Federal Court and sentenced to 97 months of imprisonment and two years of mandatory probation, was released and deported to India in May 2014.

In his petition, he claimed that due process was not followed in his case.

He had in November 2018, written a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking a grant of permission to initiate legal action against the United Nations Organization (UNO) under section 86 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908. The provision provides that a foreign State may be sued in any Court with the consent of the Central government.

The Ministry replied that the consent of the Government of India is not required to initiate a legal suit against UNO as it is not a foreign state and is only an Internal Organization.

It, however, said UNO and its officials enjoy immunity under the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947. It also said as per Section 2 of Article II of the Schedule of Act, 1947, UNO has immunity from every form of legal process except insofar as in any particular case it has expressly waived its immunity.

“…the immunity granted is all comprehensive and applicability of any national laws are subject to the waiver of the immunity by respondent no.2 (UNO). As respondent no. 2 has not waived the said immunity, the clause relating to the observance of national laws will be of no help to the petitioner herein,” Justice Kait said.

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