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Kulbhushan Jadhav Case

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case:

Pakistan’s Parliament has enacted a law to give Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to file a review appeal against his conviction by a military court.

  • The bill was enacted to implement an order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
  • However, India points out that the law has several “shortcomings”, and that steps are needed to implement the ICJ’s order “in letter and spirit”.

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case:

  • Arrest: A 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
  • In December 2017, Jadhav’s wife and mother were allowed to meet him across a glass partition, with India contesting Pakistan’s claim that this was consular access at ICJ.
  • Denial of Consular Access: India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access (Vienna Convention) to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
  • ICJ Ruling: In 2019, the ICJ ruled that Pakistan was obliged under international laws to provide by means of its own choosing “effective review and reconsideration” of Jadhav’s conviction.
  • Pakistan’s Response: In the wake of the ICJ order, the Pakistan government had promulgated a special ordinance to allow Jadhav to file a review.
  • Pakistan’s Parliament has passed the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Bill, 2021 aimed to fulfill the obligation under the verdict of the ICJ.
  • India believes the Bill reiterates a 2019 ordinance passed by Pakistan, without creating a machinery to facilitate an effective review and reconsideration in Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case.
  • Extraordinary Power to Municipal Court: It invites municipal courts in Pakistan to decide whether or not any prejudice has been caused to Jadhav on account of the failure to provide consular access.
  • This is clearly a breach of the basic tenet, that municipal courts cannot be the arbiter of whether a State has fulfilled its obligations under international law.
  • It further invites a municipal court to sit in appeal.