The International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Bill that seeks to provide the right of appeal to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, was presented in the Pakistani Senate on June 24, 2021.
The bill was passed by the Pakistani National Assembly on June 10. The bill was introduced by the Pakistani Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan.
After the bill was introduced in the House, the Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had referred the bill to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice. The bill was adopted by the National Assembly after approval from the 21-member standing committee.
What does the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Bill propose?
• The bill provides the Pakistani High Courts with the power to review and reconsider giving effect to the judgment of the International Court of Justice.
• This includes when the ICJ passes an order related to a foreign national in respect of rights under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations or in case where a foreign national is aggrieved in respect of the rights available under the same.
• It will also give such a foreign national the right to appeal in Pakistani high courts.
What is India’s opinion about the bill?
• India had recently expressed that it is not convinced with Pakistan National Assembly passing a bill to give the right of appeal to Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistani high courts.
• As per India, the bill is a breach of the ICJ judgment and full of shortcomings.
Speaking on the same, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said during his weekly media briefing that the bill does not create machinery to facilitate effective review and reconsideration of the case as mandated by the judgment of the ICJ.
He stated that India has seen the news reports relating to the Review and Reconsideration Bill 2020 that was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan. He said that the bill codifies into law the earlier Ordinance with all its shortcomings.
“It does not create a machinery to facilitate effective review and reconsideration of Shri Jadhav’s case, as mandated by the judgement of the International Court of Justice,” Bagchi added.
He further said that the Bill invites the 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.
He further said that India calls upon Pakistan to take appropriate steps to address shortcomings of the bill and to comply with the judgement of ICJ in letter and spirit.
ICJ verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav case
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its verdict on October 30, 2019 had stated that Pakistan has violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The ICJ President Judge Abduylqawi Yusuf stated that the top court in its judgement had found that Pakistan had violated its obligations under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention and appropriate remedies were due in the case.
The ICJ had ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence awarded to Jadhav and grant him consular access, a demand that India had been making ever since his arrest. The verdict was a major victory for India.