Indian lawyers take up cudgels for KulbhushanJadhav
Kulbhushanjadhav, the alleged Indian spy caught in Pakistan, has been sentenced to death by the Pakistan military court under the Pakistan Army Act. But now India is all out to extend legal aid to Jadhav and come to his rescue. India maintains that Jadhav is a retired personnel of the Indian Navy.
The India intelligence officials have already rubbished charges that Jadhav was a spy and had been sent to the neighbouring country for the purpose of espionage in the province of Baluchistan. Newspapers in India have described Jadhav as a former Navy commander who had been doing some business in Iran. Jadhav had been arrested by the Pakistani authorities on 3 March 2016. Pakistan claims that they arrested Jadhav from Baluchistan where he had illegally entered from Iran.
The trial by Pakistan's military court was completed in three months and Jadhav was sentenced to death, though he has the privilege of appealing in the Pakistani army's court of appeal. He also has other remedies available such as filing a mercy petition first before the Pakistan Army chief and then the president of that
India's top lawyers have come out to offer support to Jadhav, while calling his trial a sham and appealing that a fresh trial be conducted in a civilian court. It is to be noted that the proceedings against Jadhav in the military court were not open to public and the accused was not even provided consular access.
The organisation that come out in Jadhav'sdefence is the IndiaPakistan Joint Defence Committee for Prisoners, which comprises lawyers from the two neighbouring countries and provides legal aid to cross-border prisoners. The IPJDCP has made an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the death sentence. Bhim Singh, senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India, has drafted the appeal.
Singh has written in the appeal: "the order/malafide judgment/ authoritarian order ordering death sentence to an Indian civilian be set aside and a fair trial within the meaning and scope of the Constitution of Pakistan may be held by an appropriate court of law in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed to hold a trial against a civilian by providing him reasonable legal aid/assistance".
The IPJDCP has also sought from the Pakistan Supreme Court a copy of the judgment that convicted and sentenced Jadhav.
The efforts paid off, and in the latest development on 18 May, the International Court of Jutice ordered Pakistan to stay the execution of Jadhav until it decides on the matter. The verdict is being seen as a major embarrassment for Pakistan.