HC: United Nations not a State under Article 12

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  1. The Delhi High Court has ruled that United Nations(UN) is not a State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India and is not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
  2. The judgment was passed on a petition concerning the immunity enjoyed by the UN under the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.
  3. The petitioner was a former UN employee who was found guilty of misconduct and was sentenced to 97 months of imprisonment.After serving his sentence,the petitioner was deported to India.
  4. The petitioner then filed a plea before the High Court.The petitioner claimed that due process was not followed in his case.
  5. In November 2018,he had also written a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking a grant of permission to initiate legal action against the UN 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.
  6. The Ministry had replied that the consent of the Government of India is not required to initiate a legal suit against UN as it is not a foreign state and is only an Internal Organization.However,it said that the UN and its officials enjoy immunity under the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act,1947.
  7. According to Article 12 of the Constitution of India, the term ‘State’ denotes the union and state governments, the Parliament and state legislatures and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Indian government.
  8. Article 226 empowers the high courts to issue writs to a person or authority,including the government.The writs which can be issued are (a)habeas corpus (b)mandamus (c)prohibition (d)quo warranto and (e)certiorari.

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