January 25, 2012
Bar & Bench News
Justice Dalveer Bhandari nominated for post of permanent judge at the ICJ
The India Chapter of the Permanent Council of Arbitration (PCA) has recommended Supreme Court Judge, Dalveer Bhandari's name to the Indian government as a nominee for elections to the post of a Judge in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) based in Hague, according to TOI report.
The chance for India to put forth its nomination for this position came on the resignation of Justice Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh from the ICJ in December 2011. Justice Awn Shawkat had resigned to take up the position of the Prime Minister of Jordan.
As a diplomatic quid pro quo, sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) indicate that India’s nominee for the judges’ post will have the support of Jordan as well as that of friendly neighbours like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh according to TOI .
The ICJ recently saw two new judges elected in the 64th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The two judges are Ms Xue Hanqin (China) and Ms. Joan Donoghue (United States).
The three member committee of the PCA comprised of Justice M.H. Kania, Justice Y.K Sabharwal and Senior Advocate B.Sen. The committee had to finally decide between P. S. Rao, an ex-legal advisor in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and Justice Dalveer Bhandari. After a two-month long scrutiny and deliberations on the two candidates’ credentials, the committee found Justice Bhandari the most suited.
To top it all Bhandari‘s pro – poor and pro –social equity judicial deposition tilted the scales in his favour. In the Public Interest Litigation, People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India, Bhandari attempted to make the public distribution network for subsidized ration for poor responsive; and, pressurized the government to provide free night shelters to urban homeless and poor suffering in open in biting cold conditions.
Justice Bhandari has been associated with numerous programs and events worldwide. He has worked with the Northwestern Legal Assistance Clinic and has appeared in the courts of Chicago on behalf of the said clinic.
He has visited Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka on an observational – cum – lecture tour on legal aid and clinical legal educational programmes associated with the courts and law schools.
He also worked on an International Project “Delay in the Administration of Criminal Justice in India” sponsored by the United Nations.
In the recent past, Justice Bhandari has authored judgments that requested Parliament to take a fresh look at divorce laws to permit irretrievable break down of marriage as a ground for annulling it.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Senior Advocate B. Sen says, “Looking at various criteria such as experience; a person who will be easy to get on international circle; good health and hard working, we found Justice Bhandari the most suitable candidate among those who were interested”.
“I have known him for many years, I knew he was a capable man”, says B. Sen.
In the past twenty years, no Indian judges have been appointed to the ICJ, the last being the former Chief Justice of India Justice R.S. Pathak (1989 to 1991) and the other two being B.N Rau (1952 to 1953) and Nagendra Singh (1973 to 1988).