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UN not state under Article 12: Delhi HC

Date: 21 May 2019 Tags: Judiciary & Judgments

The Delhi High court has held that United Nations Organization (UNO) is not ‘State’ in terms of Article 12 of the Constitution of India and is thus not amenable to Article 226 jurisdiction.

What is the case?

The Delhi HC passed this judgment in petition concerning immunity enjoyed by UNO under United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.  The petitioner was former employee of UNO who was found guilty of misconduct pursuant to findings of Procurement Task Force. The petitioner also had faced trial in United States and after serving his sentence, he was deported to India. Thereafter, the petitioner sought permission of Union Ministry of External Affairs to initiate legal action against UNO in terms of section 86 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908. (This provision provides that foreign State may be sued in any Court with the consent of Central government).

 MEA had stated that consent of Union Government was not required to initiate legal suit against UNO as it was not foreign State and but is only International Organization. It, however, added that UNO and its officials enjoyed immunity under United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947. It also stated that as per Section 2 of Article II of 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 same became subject matter of the petition filed before the High Court.

Constitutional Provisions

Article 12: Its states state in context of Part III (Fundamental Rights) of Constitution includes Government and Parliament of India, Government and Legislature of each of State, all local or other authorities within territory of India or under control of Union of India.

Article 226: It empowers high courts to issue directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, certiorari or any of them to any person or authority, including government (in appropriate cases).

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