The actions of the Saudi Arabian embassy invoking diplomatic immunity in the case of its diplomat accused of rape and sodomy is a shocking and immoral claim. The rules of the diplomatic immunity are not wholly statutory. They are the product of long-standing usage which necessarily required that a foreign sovereign and its accredited agents should be immune from any interference with their person or property, which interference may well be interference with the discharge of their ambassadorial functions within the guest country. There is no rule of absolute immunity for any foreign sovereign under International Law.
Three facets of this immunity are, however, beyond controversy — 1) No foreign diplomat is subject to any arrest or detention or compulsory attendance in any court; 2) That he must be treated with extreme courtesy, respect and honour and nothing should be done to diminish or destroy these; 3) It is equally well-known that if a foreign diplomat otherwise enjoying immunity, cannot claim it in respect of civil actions arising out of any commercial operations of his not connected with discharge of his diplomatic functions.
What has happened in this case should have deeply embarrassed the Government of Saudi Arabia, for the malevolent conduct of its diplomat in India. Innocent women, who were not the nationals of Saudi Arabia but another independent country, were being kept in wrongful confinement, treated as slaves and subjected to outrageous sodomy and rape, not only by the diplomat but also his guests whom he wanted to entertain.
The Saudi government owed a large dose of gratitude to India for having discovered these beastly activities of which any normal human being should be ashamed.
However, it seems that the Saudi government requires a more fitting and virulent justification for what the Indian authorities have done.
The action of the Saudi diplomat amounts to the offence, which in the relevant United Nations conventions is called ‘slavery’ and the actual practice of it as ‘slave trade.’ Under the anti-slavery Conventions starting from the one signed in Geneva in September, 1926, and after many amendments and additions thereafter, this definition remains in force. Forced labour is included in the definition of slavery and certainly sodomising of the women for a long time by more than one male is the cruelest breach of International Law and cannot be justified by any reliance on diplomatic immunity. No state can rely on such repulsive breach of International Law defined with precision by the binding written conventions.
The sodomised women are Nepalese citizens. The cries of these unfortunate women were heard by the inmates of the housing society in Gurgaon where they were confined by the Saudi diplomat. The inmates of the society are grateful to the Government of India and so is the Government of Nepal.
Surely, the laws of Saudi Arabia do not permit sodomising of unwilling women held in slavery by any diplomat. It is time India frankly told the Government of Saudi that we shall not tolerate such activities in India. They are free to wind up and quit.
I cannot conclude this piece without congratulating the famous Islamic seminary of Sunni Muslims, Lucknow-based Darul Uloom Nizamia Farangi Mahal, for the much-needed Fatwa against the Satanic ISIS, now in its new incarnation after it has dropped one IS and made itself a worldwide movement for conversion of Darul Harb into Darul Islam. The second IS in its initials which confined its sinful intentions of forcing the Islamic state of their conception in Iraq and Syria only is now extended to the whole world.
God is the creator of all religions, prophets and humans. He has not yet taken the decision to destroy all religions except Islam. Every human being is God’s creation. For any human, even to think that God is wrong and he needs human help to destroy an overwhelming majority of his creation is an insult to God and I believed that God will destroy those who are guilty of entertaining such a satanic ambition which treats God as an impotent lunatic.
The thousands or more clerics from all over India who have ordained the much-needed Fatwa and the leader of this rational group, the Mumbai-based Mufti Manzar Hasan Khan, have justly earned the gratitude and admiration of the Secular Nation of India.
The author is a senior politician and eminent lawyer.