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Harish Salve Charged Re. 1 As Fee To Fight Kulbhushan Jadhav’s Case At The ICJ

Apoorva Mandhani
16 May 2017 5:50 AM GMT
Harish Salve Charged Re. 1 As Fee To Fight Kulbhushan Jadhav’s Case At The ICJ
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Senior Counsel Harish Salve, who is representing India at the International Court of Justice against the death penalty awarded to Mr. Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan, has charged a meager amount of Re. 1 as fee.

The revelation was made by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a tweet on Monday, in response to a tweet by one Mr. Sanjeev Goyal, who said that India could have gotten any good lawyer with much less fee than what Salve must have charged for fighting the case.

India has petitioned the ICJ, seeking a stay on the execution of former Indian Navy Officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani Military Court on espionage charges. The ICJ began the hearing on India’s appeal on Monday, with India being represented by Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) Deepak Mittal (Principal Agent), Joint Secretary VD Sharma (Co-Agent), Harish Salve (Counsel), Kajal Bhat, first secretary, Embassy of India in the Netherlands (Advisor) and Chetna N. Rai (Junior Counsel).

On Monday, Mr. Salve presented an intense briefing to the ICJ Registrar for close to 20 minutes, attempting to invoke Article 41 of the ICJ Statute and Article 74(4) of the Court rules. Article 41 empowers the ICJ to issue any provisional measures for preserving the rights of the parties, pending the final decision.  Article 74 states that a request for indication of provisional measures (interim relief) shall have priority over all other cases. A dramatic dash had thereafter resulted in the ICJ asking Pakistan to tie its hands on the Military Court’s sentence to Mr. Jadhav.

“In my capacity as president of the court, and exercising powers conferred upon me under Article 74, paragraph 4, of the rules of the court, I call upon your Excellency’s government, pending the court's decision on (India’s) request for the indication of provisional measures, to act in such a way as will enable any order the court may make on this request to have its appropriate effects,” the President’s directive reportedly said.

The Appeal on Mr. Jadhav’s behalf was given last month to Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale, who also handed over a Petition by Jadhav’s mother, expressing the desire to meet him, and seeking the Pakistan Government’s intervention for his release.

In the Appeal, India has accused Pakistan of “egregious violations of the Vienna Convention”. It has contended that it was not informed of Mr. Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest, and that Pakistan failed to inform him of his rights. It further alleges that, in violation of the Vienna Convention, the authorities of Pakistan are denying India its right of consular access to Mr. Jadhav, despite its repeated requests.

It has brought to the notice of the Court that Pakistan had subsequently requested assistance in the investigation, and had informed India that consular access would be considered only in the light of India’s response to such request. This linking, India has now contended, is “by itself a serious violation of the Vienna Convention”.

India has thereafter pointed out that Mr. Jadhav’s execution “would cause irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India”. It, hence, demanded an immediate suspension of Mr. Jadhav’s death sentence, submitting that “[w]ithout the provisional measures requested, Pakistan will execute Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav before th[e] Court can consider the merits of India’s claims and India will forever be deprived of the opportunity to vindicate its rights”.

India has further sought a direction to Pakistan to annul the decision of the Military Court. In case Pakistan is unable to annul the decision, it has sought a declaration that the decision is illegal, being violative of international law and treaty rights.

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