11, May 2017

1.What is the ICJ’s role in the Kulbushan Jadhav trial?

Source: The Hindu

The International Court of Justice ruled that Pakistan’s treatment of Indian national, Kulbhshan Jadhav, is a gross violation of international laws and stalled his execution. In doing so, the ICJ has opened a wide debate about its origins, operations and binding value of its judgements.

What is the ICJ?

  • The principal judicial wing of the United Nations, the ICJ was established in June, 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations. It is the only organ of the UN that is not headquartered in New York. The seat of the Court is in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • It consists of 15 judges elected for a period of 9 years by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. Once elected, he judges cease to be representatives of their countries and functions as officers of the Court.
  • The Court’s current president is Justice Ronny Abraham of France, and Justice Dalveer Bhandari from India is among the 15 members.

Who are its members?

  • All members of the UN are de facto members of the ICJ. Accordingly, India was among the founding members when the ICJ was established in 1945. Pakistan became a member when it joined the UN in 1960.
  • However, as per the UN Charter, a non-member state can be included in the ICJ as a party to a dispute on the recommendation of the Security Council and the General Assembly.

What are its origins?

  • The creation of the ICJ is the culmination of multi-pronged efforts aimed at establishing peace, stability and international security. After World War I, the League of Nations was established as a measure to avoid a second such war. In accordance with this spirit, Article 14 of the League of Nations called for the establishment of a court to solve international disputes in 1920. This became a reality when the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) was founded at the Peace Palace inThe Hague in Netherlands in 1922.
  • However, the beginning of the World War II in 1939 was a strong indication of the failure of the League of Nations.
  • The Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco Conferences held by the Allied powers of WWII in 1944-1945 period recognised the growing need for an international body that would work impartially to protect ‘succeeding generations from the scourge of war’. In view of this, a UN Charter was adopted which legitimised the established of a UN body and 6 principal organs, including the International Court of Justice.

What is its jurisdiction and binding value?

  • The ICJ is a world court with dual jurisdictional powers: advisory jurisdiction and jurisdiction in contentious cases. The former relates to the jurisdiction of the Court in providing legal opinions and recommendations on matters refereed to it by the organs and specialised agencies of the
  • Jurisdiction in contentious cases arises when disputes of a legal nature are submitted to it by the States. It has jurisdiction to rule in disputes pertaining to UN member states.

Vienna Convention:

  • India and Pakistan are signatory to the Optional Protocol of the Vienna Convention concerning Compulsory Settlement of Disputes.
  • As per the Protocol, all disputes relating to the interpretation and/or application of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations falls under “compulsory jurisdiction” of the ICJ.
  • The judgements of the ICJ are considered binding and are without appeal for the parties concerned. It is rare for a decision not to be implemented. However, the Court itself has no direct powers to ensure implementation of its judgements and members States can approach the UN Security Council for matters relating to non-compliance with ICJ rulings.

How does this relate to the Kulbushan Jadhav trial?

  • In a petition filed by senior advocate Harish Salve on May 8, India listed details of the Jadhav case and accused Pakistan of “egregious violation” of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. This includes Pakistan’s denial of information regarding Jadhav’s trial, demands for consular access that were repeatedly turned down over 15 times, and suggesting that access would only be granted in exchange for information about Jadhav’s life in India.
  • The Court has now directed the Pakistan Prime Minister “to act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on this request to have had its appropriate effects”. In saying so, the Court has effectively stayed his execution.
  • The Vienna Conventions on Consular Relations of 1963 is an international treaty that establishes and governs consular relations between independent states. Accordingly, a consul has two primary functions as emissary of an embassy:
    • Protecting the interests of their countrymen in the host country.
    • Furthering economic and commercial relations between the two States.

How is the ICJ different from the International Criminal Court?

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in July, 2002 as per the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Court deals with four core international crimes which are genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression and is allowed to act only when States are “unable” or “unwilling” to act by themselves.
  • While the ICC is charged with criminal prosecution of individuals involved in the above mentioned crimes, the ICJ is solely meant to address legal questions and disputes between States. Moreover, governing doctrines vary, with ICJ falling under the UN Charter and the Statute of the ICJ; the ICC is governed by the Rome Statute.
  • All members of the UN are de facto members of the ICJ while only 103 States that are party to the Rome Statute are members of the ICC.

2.Centre mulls financial assistance to fisherfolk

Source: The Hindu

With about four million people — mainly small-scale and artisanal fishers — in India depending on marine fisheries resources for livelihood, the Centre plans to provide them financial assistance and introduce norms to improve labour conditions in the sector.

However, it will ensure that the Indian fishing fleet does not engage in ‘Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated’ (IUU) fishing, according to the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017.

Key facts:

  • The Indian marine fisheries account for an economic wealth of about Rs. 65,000 crore, according to the policy — meant to guide the coordination and management of India’s marine fisheries during the next 10 years.
  • However, fishermen are having difficulties in availing institutional credit to buy fishing implements and crafts, and that the risky nature of returns has led to many fishermen falling into the debt trap of private financiers and middlemen.
  • Therefore, the Centre, with the help of National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, will provide financial assistance to fishermen with liberal terms and condition.

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing-  Fisheries and Aquaculture Department- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing generally refers to fishing conducted in violation of national laws or internationally agreed conservation and management measures in effect in oceans around the world.

  • IUU fishing is a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries.
  • IUU products often come from fisheries lacking the strong and effective conservation and management measures.
  • IUU fishing most often violates conservation and management measures, such as quotas or bycatch limits, established under international agreements. By adversely impacting fisheries, marine ecosystems, food security and coastal communities around the world, IUU fishing undermines domestic and international conservation and management efforts.
  • Most of the world’s fish is caught in the national waters of coastal States. Illegal fishing in such areas can range from a licensed vessel fishing more than its allowed catch to a vessel coming into the zone with no fishing license at all, or even a vessel crew not reporting or underreporting their catch—even if the vessel is licensed to catch that species.
  • A lot of unregulated fishing occurs on the high seas. The high seas are international waters beyond the exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the shoreline, of a coastal state. Patchy regulation, little enforcement, and the vast expanse of the ocean—the high seas cover almost 45 percent of our planet—combine to allow rampant illegal and unregulated fishing in those areas.
  • Even when unregulated fishing on the high seas does not break any national law, it can have a significant harmful impact on marine life in the world’s oceans. So, the international community needs to develop and implement policy solutions that both forbid and eradicate these activities.


  • A guide to the background and implementation of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
  • Implementation of the International Plan of Action to deter, prevent and eliminate, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Exclusive Economic Zone

An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a concept adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1982), whereby a coastal State assumes jurisdiction over the exploration and exploitation of marine resources in its adjacent section of the continental shelf, taken to be a band extending 200 miles from the shore.

3.Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System

Source: The Hindu

Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) was recently launched by the PM.


  • The Integrated Case Management Information System or ICMIS is described as the next generation hybrid database which is used to better enable litigants to access and retrieve information online.
  • The new system, aimed at serving as a digital repository for case-related information, can be accessed at sci.gov.in.
  • Its functions include the option of e-filing cases, checking listing dates, case status, online service of notice/summons, office reports and overall tracking of progress of a case filed with the apex court registry.
  • It is also proposed that it will operate as an online gateway for payment of court fee and process fee. Other features offered under the new system include an online court fee calculator. This is expected to streamline the filing process for both the advocates and the registry.
  • All records of a particular case—at various stages—at the district court or high court will be integrated with the system to offer the complete record in digital form. In the future, linking of information on jail inmates and under-trials may be integrated into the system.

4.Labour meet to focus on social security

Source: The Hindu

The Standing Labour Committee will shortly meet to decide the agenda of the ILC, also known as the ‘labour parliament’ of the country. Providing social security cover for the entire workforce may be the central theme of the upcoming 47th Indian Labour Conference (ILC).

The Labour Ministry had earlier this year proposed a law on social security which will provide social security cover to the entire workforce in the country, including self-employed and agricultural workers. Factories employing even a single worker will have to contribute towards social security benefits, as per the proposed social security code.


  • The ILC is the apex level tripartite forum in the Labour Ministry which includes representatives from trade unions, employers and state governments.
  • It advises the Government on the issues concerning working class of the country.
  • As recommended by the National Labour Conference held in September 17-18, 1982, only Trade Union Organisations, which have, a membership of more than five lakhs spread over four States and four industries are given representation in the ILC.
  • All the 12 Central Trade Union Organisations, Central Organisations of employers, all State Governments and Union Territories and Central Ministries/Departments concerned with the agenda items, are the members of the ILC.

5.Rail regulator to define performance standards

Source: The Hindu

As per a resolution approved recently by the Railways Board, India’s first rail regulator, Rail Development Authority (RDA), would not just look at tariff structures for passenger and freight operations but also set standards of performance and efficiency that would be enforceable under the Railways Act.

Key facts:

  • The resolution authorises RDA to define standards of performance and efficiency; such standards would be notified as rules under the Railway Act to give a binding force upon acceptance. It will also be “authorised to check for deviations and suggest remedial measures.”
  • The regulator will also provide guidance on quantity and quality of service provided to passengers. These may include setting standards including hours of service, frequency of trains, capacity per coach, cleanliness level, and quality of water, food, furnishing and linen.
  • The regulator will, however, not involve itself in policy making of the Indian Railways, operations and maintenance of the rail system, financial management, setting technical standards and compliance of safety standards. The regulator would only make recommendations on tariff and not impose a tariff on the Indian Railways.

The Union Cabinet had last month approved setting up the rail regulator responsible for recommending passenger fares, setting performance standards for rail operations and creating a level playing policy for private sector participation. The RDA will be an independent body with separate budget. The independence is ensured through separate budget, appointment and removal process.


  • The Authority will have a Chairman and three members with a fixed term of five years and will be allowed to engage experts from various fields.
  • The Chairman and members of the Authority will be appointed by a Search and Selection Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary with members including the Railway Board Chairman, Department of Personnel and Training Secretary and Chairman of any regulatory body of the Central Government nominated by the Cabinet Secretary.


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