NEW DELHI: India confirmed Thursday that it had asked for appointment of a Queen’s Counsel (QC), a title awarded to senior barristers for excellence in some Commonwealth countries, as Kulbhushan Jadhav’s defence lawyer in the ongoing ICJ-mandated review of his death sentence in Islamabad high court.
TOI had first reported Wednesday that, to break the deadlock over who can represent Jadhav in a Pakistan court, India had proposed appointment of a QC as his lawyer and that senior advocate Harish Salve, who is also QC in the courts of England and Wales, was its obvious choice.
The government though, as the MEA said Thursday, is open to enlisting the services of lawyers of other nationalities too provided they are QC too.
“Pakistan has not yet addressed the core issues, which includes provision of all documents related to the case, providing unconditional and unimpeded consular access to him and appointment of an Indian lawyer or a Queen’s counsel to ensure free and fair trial,” said spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, reiterating that Pakistan had not been able to fulfill its obligations on implementation of the ICJ judgment in letter and spirit.
The ICJ had last year asked Pakistan for an effective review and reconsideration of Jadhav’s conviction and upheld India’s demand for consular access to Jadhav.
Pakistan’s response on India’s demand for a QC to represent Jadhav is still awaited. Islamabad had said earlier that only a lawyer with licence to practice in Pakistan can be Jadhav’s lawyer.
Pakistan had earlier this week extended for 4 months the validity of an ordinance which allows Jadhav to file a review petition. India though looks at the ordinance as a red herring meant to create a “mirage of compliance” with the ICJ judgment.
For India, the main issue remains unconditional and private access to Jadhav as this, according to Indian officials, is the only way the judgment can be fully and effectively implemented. India believes that consular access to Jadhav has to be “remedial” and private because, unlike regular cases of consular access where the degree of involvement of an accused in criminal acts is unknown, Jadhav has already been convicted by a military court on the basis of his alleged confession.