A division bench of Delhi High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal on Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the government to approach the International Court of Justice for securing the release of Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been illegally detained at an unknown location in Pakistan and also sentenced by a military court there.
The petitioner contended that Kulbhushan Jadhav is being denied consular access in contravention of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, which renders state parties entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice under Optional Protocol to which both India and Pakistan acceded in November 1977, and March 1976, respectively.
He also submitted that no protocol stands issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, for the release of Indian citizens who have been abducted/kidnapped in other countries.
Mr. Sanjay Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India, submitted that as far as the response of the Indian Government to the unfortunate state of affairs in the matter of illegal detention and sentencing of an Indian citizen in Pakistan is concerned, the Indian Government has reacted with promptitude at the highest level.
He also submitted that Members of Parliament, cutting across all party lines, were at one with the government in this regard and this writ petition on such sensitive matters, which are purely in the domain of governmental function and policy, was unwarranted.
The high court was of the view that the petitioner was presumptuous that there can be a straitjacket formula which can be applied in every instance of abduction or kidnapping of Indian citizens abroad.
“During the course of hearing, the petitioner has himself pointed out the wide divergence in the situations that may arise when he refers to a kidnapping of Indian citizens by Somali pirates (when the respondents admittedly succeeded in securing release) and to the case in hand. Therefore, this matter best deserves to be left to the expertise and assessment by the respondents,” it said.
The bench observed that at a time when the entire energies of the respondents are required to be devoted to addressing such a serious matter, the petitioner has sought to divert attention by filing this writ petition.
“We have no doubt at all that the respondents are best placed to take the decisions as also all appropriate steps to safeguard the life and liberty of the citizens of this country. As informed by Mr. Jain, ld. ASG, all steps are being taken in the present case and with urgency,” said the bench while dismissing the petition.
Read the Judgment here.