India’s deputy consul in New York, Devyani Khobragade was transferred to India’s Permanent Mission in United Nations in New York on 18 December 2013. This was done by India to boost her diplomatic immunity. Earlier, Devyani Khobragade was charged with criminal offences by US.
Devyani, the IFS officer was transferred to the post of the deputy consul-general in New York. The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations is located in New York.
She was moved to UN because of the fear that she might be detained again, as she was arrested in the second week of December 2013 by US. She will have a complete diplomatic immunity as an official of UN, which was not available to her as an official consulate.
At present, India wants the US to apologize and drop the criminal charges against Devyani Khobragade and allow her to return home.
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State on 18 December 2013 called to the National Security Adviser, Shivshankar Menon to express his regret over the episode.
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was inked in 1961 and is an international accord and defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It governs the conduct of diplomats and defines the immunities they enjoy when serving in foreign countries. Three articles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations fall significant and they are:
Article 40 Protection of Consular Officers
The receiving State shall treat consular officers with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on their person, freedom or dignity
Article 41 Personal Inviolability of Consular Officers
1. Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority
2. Except in the case specified in paragraph 1 of this article, consular officers shall not be committed to prison or be liable to any other form of restriction on their personal freedom save in execution of a judicial decision of final effect.
3. If criminal proceedings are instituted against a consular officer, he must appear before the competent authorities. Nevertheless, the proceedings shall be conducted with the respect due to him by reason of his official position and, except in the case specified in paragraph 1 of this article, in a manner which will hamper the exercise of consular functions as little as possible. When, in the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 of this article, it has become necessary to detain a consular officer, the proceedings against him shall be instituted with the minimum of delay.
Article 43 Immunity from Jurisdiction
1. Consular officers and consular employees shall not be amenable to the jurisdiction of the judicial or administrative authorities of the receiving State in respect of acts performed in the exercise of consular functions.
2. The provisions of paragraph 1 of this article shall not, however, apply in respect of a civil action either:
(a) Arising out of a contract concluded by a consular officer or a consular employee in which he did not contract expressly or impliedly as an agent of the sending State
(b) By a third party for damage arising from an accident in the receiving State caused by a vehicle, vessel or aircraft
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