New Delhi: India said Thursday it might have to resort to “further remedies” on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, indicating it can knock the doors of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague again.
Even so, the Ministry of External Affairs lashed out at Pakistan for not granting “unimpeded” consular access to Jadhav, something that India has requested 12 times over the past one year.
A retired Navy official, Jadhav is on death row in the country following his conviction on espionage and terrorism charges in Pakistan.
“India has so far requested consular access 12 times over the past one year. However, Pakistan has so far not been able to provide unimpeded consular access,” MEA spokesperson and joint secretary Anurag Srivastava said.
“The meeting of consular officers with Shri Jadhav on 16 July was scuttled by Pakistan authorities. The consular officers were instructed not to hand over any document to Shri Jadhav. Hence, the Indian consular officers could not obtain a power of attorney from Shri Jadhav,” he added.
Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April 2017.
In May 2017, India had filed a case before the ICJ to get consular access to Jadhav. The international forum had ruled last year that Pakistan should stay his execution, provide India immediate consular access to him, and come up with a review mechanism.
Earlier this year, Pakistan issued the ‘International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020, under which Jadhav could have filed a review petition against the military court’s decision in a civilian court through an application within 60 days of its promulgation. The ordinance expired 19 July.
The power of attorney would have allowed Jadhav’s lawyer, appointed by India, to file a review petition in a local court, but Pakistan’s refusal to hand it over has scuttled New Delhi’s efforts to seek judicial remedy.
At the briefing, the MEA lashed out at Pakistan for its “farcical approach” to the Jadhav case.
“In the absence of a unimpeded and unhindered consular access as well as of the relevant documents, as a last resort, India tried to file a petition on 18 July. However, our Pakistani lawyer informed that a review petition could not be filed in the absence of power of attorney and supporting documents related to the case of Shri Jadhav,” Srivastava said.
“Pakistan advised India that the relevant documents could be handed over only to an authorised Pakistani lawyer. Thereafter, India appointed a Pakistani lawyer to obtain the relevant documents. To our surprise, as advised by the Pakistani authorities, when the authorised Pakistani lawyer approached the concerned authorities, they declined to handover the documents to the lawyer,” Srivastava added.
“The whole exercise of not providing any documents related to the case even after repeated requests, not providing an unimpeded consular access and some reported unilateral action of approaching the high court on part of Pakistan again exposes the farcical nature of Pakistan’s approach,” the MEA spokesperson said. Srivastava added that Pakistan’s action “is not only in violation of the judgment of ICJ, but also of its own ordinance”.
“Pakistan has completely failed to provide the remedy as directed by the ICJ and India reserves its position in the matter, including its rights to avail of further remedies,” he added.
India has been given consular access to Jadhav twice, including on 16 July, when Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia and another official from the Indian High Commission there met him at a sub-jail.
However, New Delhi has complained of interference in the meetings.
According to Indian officials, during the latest meeting, Jadhav appeared to be under visible stress.