New Delhi, Sep 1:
The centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the issue of brutalities committed by the Pakistani Army on Captain Saurabh Kalia and that of 54 Indian defence personnel languishing in Pakistani jails since the 1965 and 1971 wars could not be agitated at the International Court of Justice.
The court was told that under the Geneva Convention, acts of aggression and hostilities between two countries could not be raised at the ICJ to which India was a signatory.
The centre was responding to a bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph, which asked that if India could raise a river water dispute with Pakistan at the ICJ, why could it also not do so on the issue of Indian defence personnel languishing in Pakistani jails.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said that for approaching the ICJ, both the parties to the dispute have to give their consent for such an adjudication.
“A state (read country) cannot be compelled without its consent to submit to a dispute filed by another state (read country) to internationals jurisdiction,” Ranjit Kumar told the court.
“It is highly unlikely that Pakistan will consent to India’s proposal to submit the case to the ICJ by special agreement when it has treated the allegations as absurd,” the court was told, explaining the government’s difficulty in taking the Capt. Saurabh Kalia and the 54 POWs issue to the ICJ.
The Centre said this on the plea by Capt. Saurabh Kalia’s father N.K. Kalia seeking direction to the government to refer to the ICJ the torture of his son after he was captured by Pakistan during the 1999 Kargil war.
The court had issued notice to the Centre on December 14, 2012, on N.K. Kalia’s plea for referring the matter to the ICJ.
Capt. Saurabh Kalia and five soldiers were captured on May 15, 1999 and were in captivity for 22 days. Their bodies were handed over to the Indian authorities on June 9, 1999. Capt. Kalia’s body was returned in a mutilated condition.
The government has already informed the court that the “exact status” of 54 defence personnel belonging to the army, air force and navy, who are missing since the 1965 and the 1971 India-Pakistan wars, was not known.
Referring to Pakistan denying their presence in its jails, the government in its earlier affidavit had said: “As such, the exact status of these 54 missing defence personnel, believed to be in Pakistani jails, is not known.”
The government informed the court that in most of the cases, all service dues including retirement benefits have been given to their legal heirs and in other cases that have been deposited with the registry of the Gujarat High Court. (IANS)