Envoy holds twin posts, can legally visit Nepal

Envoy holds twin posts, can legally visit Nepal

Govt may be in sticky spot if Mancini uses position

The government may find itself on a sticky wicket if Rome’s envoy to New Delhi, Daniele Mancini, flouts the Supreme Court’s order to stay put in India, even if it is only on an official engagement in Nepal, another country where he represents Italy.

The Italian ambassador to India is concurrently accredited as his country’s envoy to Nepal. Though he is based in New Delhi, Mancini does occasionally travel to Kathmandu.

But in the wake of the Supreme Court’s order restraining him from leaving India, the government will have to step in even if he seeks to embark on a trip to Nepal, at least till the Supreme Court’s next hearing of the case on April 2.

Syed Akbaruddin, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, on Monday said the government was aware of the concurrent accreditation of Mancini as Italy’s ambassador to both India and Nepal. He, however, declined to say how the government would react or implement the Supreme Court’s order, if the Italian ambassador chose to flout it.

“Let us cross the bridge when we come to it. Let us not be speculative and think of hypothetical situations. If you have some information that he is going tomorrow, he has not communicated that to the Ministry of External Affairs,” said Akbaruddin, when a journalist asked how the government sought to curb Mancini, if he tried to leave New Delhi for Kathmandu or elsewhere outside India.

New Delhi hopes Rome will not vitiate the diplomatic standoff further and the Italian ambassador will not make an attempt to leave India immediately.

The Supreme Court restrained Mancini from leaving India after Rome conveyed to New Delhi that Italian marines Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone would not return to India to stand trial for killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012. The Supreme Court on February 22 granted the duo four-week leave from the trial to go home to cast vote in the parliamentary elections in Italy.

The SC had granted the leave after the Italian ambassador, on behalf of his country’s government, filed an affidavit in the court, taking full responsibility to ensure their return after the break.  

Italy last Friday sent a note verbale to Ravi Shankar, the Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d'Affaires in the Indian Embassy in Rome, stating that any move to restrict the movement of Mancini would violate Articles 29 and 31 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which grants him immunity from the criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction of India as well as from detention or arrest.

“We are conscious of the provisions of the Vienna Convention and our obligations,” Akbaruddin said on Monday.