India, Jadhav get another chance to pursue case

Attorney general tells IHC that New Delhi appears uninterested in availing legal remedy


Rizwan Shehzad   September 03, 2020
Jadhav, a serving commander in the Indian Navy and working for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was arrested on March 3, 2016, in Balochistan on charges of espionage. PHOTO: Screengrab/File

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday granted another opportunity to the Indian government and its convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to clarify their stance on pursuing his case.

The court issued the directions after the Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan informed a larger bench of the IHC comprising Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzaib that the Pakistani government had yet not received a reply from New Delhi on the matter.

Jadhav, a serving commander in the Indian Navy working for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on charges of espionage, and condemned to death by a military court the following year.

The attorney general informed the court Jadhav did want to benefit from the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020 for an effective review of his case.

Instead, he has requested considering his mercy plea, which is already pending before the Pakistan army chief.

The top law officer told the court that the Indian government was apparently not interested in availing the legal remedy and its "focus is on embarrassing Pakistan".

In July last year, the ICJ had asked Pakistan for an "effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav” so as to ensure that full weight was given to the effect of the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36, Paragraph 1, of the Vienna Convention and guarantee that the violation and the possible prejudice caused by the violation were fully examined.

In view of the ICJ judgment, the federal government had promulgated the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020 on May 20 for an effective review of the case.

The IHC observed that to remove any doubt, and to fulfill the requirements of a fair trial, another opportunity ought to be extended to the Indian government to consider taking appropriate measures so as to ensure effective compliance with the judgment of the ICJ.

“It is also important to give an assurance to Commander Jadhav that his rights, particularly the right to a fair trial, are an integral factor of an effective review and reconsideration for a meaningful compliance with the judgment of the International Court. We, therefore, yet again restrain ourselves from proceeding in the matter in hand,” the court order stated.

The hearing was adjourned till October 6.

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