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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking direction to the government to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for securing release of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav from Pakistan.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra refused to interfere with the government's steps being taken to secure the release of Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a special military court in the neighbouring country.
The bench said: "This matter best deserves to be left to the expertise and assessment of the government. No intervention by us in the matter is called for."
"At a time when the entire energies of the government 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 government is best placed to take the decisions as also all appropriate steps to safeguard the life and liberty of the citizens of this country."
The court's order came on a plea filed by social activist Rahul Sharma that an Indian citizen had been illegally detained and wrongly sentenced to capital punishment by a Pakistani military court without a fair trial. He demanded that the Indian government challenge the violations of international law by the Pakistan government in the ICJ.
Jain said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has even apprised the Parliament of all efforts being undertaken by the government to ensure Jadhav's life and well-being and has assured, not only the Parliament but the entire nation of the "unstinted efforts" being made in this regard.
Seeking dismissal of the plea, he also submitted that MPs, cutting across all party lines, are at one with the government on the issue and that the petition on such sensitive matters, which are purely in the domain of governmental function and policy, is unwarranted.
The court also noted that due to the sensitive nature of the issue, it would be "inappropriate and impermissible to have a discussion thereon in an open court room, especially about the efforts of the government of India to secure justice for its citizens".
It said that any revelation regarding the efforts being made by the government may prejudice their success or frustrate the steps in this regard.
On Sharma's plea to design a protocol for similar situation in future, the court said: "The petitioner is presumptuous that there can be a straitjacket formula which can be applied in every instance of abduction or kidnapping of Indian citizens abroad."
It noted that there can be wide divergence in the situations that may arise such as the kidnapping of Indian citizens by Somali pirates, where the government was successful in securing their release.
Jadhav, sentenced to death on April 10, faced seven charges including espionage and waging war against Pakistan. Islamabad has rejected Indian requests for consular access to Jadhav.
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