The external affairs ministry on Tuesday told the Madras High Court that Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devananda, wanted in a firing case in Chennai in 1986, cannot be arrested as he enjoys diplomatic immunity.
The ministry also submitted that if Devananda was arrested while on a state visit, it would affect relations between the two countries.
It also told the court that India does not have any extradition treaty with Sri Lanka.
After the submission filed by the ministry, the court adjourned the case for four weeks.
Advocate P Pugazhendi had filed a petition seeking the court’s directions to arrest Devananda, the Sri Lankan minister for traditional industries and small enterprise development, when he visited India in June 2010.
According to the petitioner, Devananda, then a member of Sri Lanka's separatist Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), is wanted in a 1986 shootout and murder case in Chennai and has been declared a proclaimed offender.
One more case was lodged against him for kidnapping a boy in 1988. In 1989, he was arrested and later let out on bail.
A sessions court in Chennai declared Devananda a proclaimed offender in 1994 after he failed to appear in the court while on bail.