Pak blocking all avenues for legal remedy to Jadhav, India explores other options

Pak blocking all avenues for legal remedy to Jadhav, India explores other options

New Delhi: India on Thursday said Pakistan has once again exposed its "farcical" approach by denying available legal remedies to Kulbhushan Jadhav against his death sentence which is also in contravention of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict, and asserted that it will explore further options in the case.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India appointed a Pakistani lawyer as advised by Islamabad to help Jadhav file a review petition in a court but it could not be done in the absence of a Power of Attorney and supporting documents related to the case.

He said Pakistan has blocked all the avenues for an effective remedy available to India in the case while noting that New Delhi has so far requested consular access to Jadhav for 12 times over the past one year.

"The whole exercise of not providing documents related to the case even after repeated requests, not providing 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," he said.

The MEA spokesperson said Pakistan 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," Srivastava added.

It is believed that India will seek legal advice on its next possible step in the case which could include again approaching the ICJ on the ground that Pakistan did not comply with the tribunal's order.

Earlier, Pakistan said July 20 is the last date to file a review petition in Islamabad High Court against Jadhav's conviction on charges of espionage and terrorism.

"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," Srivastava said.

"To our surprise, as advised by the Pakistani authorities, when the authorised Pakistani lawyer approached the concerned authorities, they declined to hand over the documents to the lawyer," he said.

Srivastava said notwithstanding denial of unimpeded and unhindered consular access to Jadhav as well as the relevant documents, India, as a last resort, tried to file a petition on July 18.

"However, our Pakistani lawyer informed us that a review petition could not be filed in the absence of power of attorney and supporting documents related to the case of Jadhav," he said.

The MEA spokesperson said Pakistan also created confusion over the last date of filing of the review petition as initially it indicated that it has to be filed by July 19. But subsequently, Pakistan indicated that the time limit to file the petition shall expire on July 20.

Media reports from Islamabad said the Pakistan government on Wednesday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court seeking appointment of a "legal representative" for Jadhav.

However, the main parties, including the government of India, have not been consulted ahead of the filing of the application by the Ministry of Law and Justice under a federal ordinance.

Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.

The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

Pakistan enacted the 'International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020' on May 20 under which a petition for the review of a military court's decision can be made to Islamabad High Court through an application within 60 days of its promulgation.

The Pakistan government has claimed that Jadhav refused to file a review petition or an application to reconsider the verdict.

Srivastava said India already shared its concerns to Pakistan in June knowing the "inadequacies and shortcomings" in the Ordinance.

"Pakistan took two weeks to inform us about this Ordinance and shared the copy of the Ordinance only after India requested the same. India has conveyed that the Ordinance neither fulfils nor does it give complete weight to the judgment of the ICJ," Srivastava said.

"With regards to the Ordinance, it seems, Pakistan was non-serious in its approach and was not interested in implementing the judgment of the ICJ in letter and spirit. It has blocked all the avenues for an effective remedy available for India," it said.

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