The Delhi high court on Wednesday refused to direct the government to approach the International Court of Justice for the release of death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav from jail in Pakistan, saying the government was taking necessary steps.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra said the government was best placed to take a decision and safeguard the life and liberty of its citizens.
"All steps are being taken by the government. There cannot be any intervention by this court," the bench said, adding that it does not want to interfere in the government's measures to secure the release of 46-year-old Jadhav from the Pakistani prison.
The court accepted the stand of Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain that Union of India was making every possible endeavour to get Jadhav back.
Observing that it would be "inappropriate" to openly discuss the "sensitive issue", the bench said "revelation in open court about steps being taken by the government may jeopardise the sensitive efforts to secure his release."
The high court also rejected the petitioner's prayer for issuance of protocol to release Indians abducted/kidnapped in other countries, saying "there cannot be a straight-jacket formula that may be adopted for different situations."
The court had reserved its verdict after the ASG said it was "not a public interest litigation".
The ASG had also said the issue should be left to Parliament and its members as it was a rare occasion that members of both the Houses, cutting across party lines, have condemned the act of the Pakistan military court.
The court was hearing a petition filed by social activist Rahul Sharma who sought direction to the ministry of external affairs and the ministry of home affairs to approach the Hague-based ICJ to provide consular access to Jadhav, saying the former naval officer has not only been illegally detained but also wrongly awarded capital punishment.
The Pakistan army chief had on April 10 confirmed the death sentence awarded to Jadhav, a former Naval officer, by a Pakistani military court after he was convicted of "espionage".