Names of sitting judges like Chief Justice J.S. Kehar and Justice Dipak Mishra, were also considered by Govt. before deciding finally on Justice Bhandari.
With filing of nomination papers in New York on Monday, India has finally decided to re-nominate Dalveer Bhandari for another term at the International Court of Justice (ICJ),
After the Indian nominee, Neeru Chadha, won the election to one of the seven vacant seats to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the decision to re-nominate him was finalised.
For this purpose the signatures of all four members of India’s ‘National group’ at the Permanent Court of Arbitration were obtained on Sunday.
According to the ICJ Rules, the National group has to submit nominations to the ICJ. It comprises of members nominated to be potential arbitrators.
Indian national group currently consists are former Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, retired Supreme Court Judge Girish Thakorlal Nanavati, attorney general Mukul Rohtagi and senior lawyer Harish Salve.
They were nominated by the NDA government in January 2015.
It is relevant to consider that if Justice Bhandari gets re-elected, for the second term for nine years – his tenure will overlap with the ICJ’s hearing of India case against the death sentence given to former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan.
in Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case ICJ had already stayed Pakistan from executing the death sentence by formally accepting India’s request on May 18.
For final orders, India is asked to submit its written submissions by September 13, while Pakistan is given time upto December 13 to file its counter documents.
Apart from India France, Brazil, the UK and Somalia have already filed renomination papers for their incumbent several weeks ago.
India will face competition from Lebanon’s candidature as well.
Before finalising Justice Bhandari’s name, the government had been looking at several names which included Chief Justice J.S. Kehar and Justice Dipak Mishra amongst sitting judges.
His description of the May 18 order as being a “great diplomatic victory for India” had been noticed in Pakistan, where there were voices calling for his recusal.
Importantly Pakistan, on its part, will also be appointing an ad hoc judge to the ICJ bench hearing the Jadhav case, as it is allowed to do.
Bhandari’s candidature in 2012 was fraught with controversy as he was then a sitting judge.
Questions were raised by some legal experts about his judicial independence as he continued to hear such cases to which the government was a party while government was lobbying on his behalf for a berth at the ICJ.