The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday said that the court finds it in favour of India's plea that execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav should not be allowed until it has disposed of the case. India has also been given consular access to Jadhav.
Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the court said, "The court has jurisdiction in the case because of Vienna Convention, dismisses Pakistan's reservations on this issue. Acts alleged by India fall in the Vienna convention which guarantees the state to be given access to its citizen. Vienna convention doesn't exclude those found guilty of terror and espionage."
The court also rejected Pakistan's contention that the 2008 case excluded the ICJ's juridisction.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reacted to the development saying, "The ICJ order has come as a great relief to the familly of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India." and thanked senior advocate Harish Salve for representing India.
The ICJ order has come as a great relief to the familly of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India.â€” Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 18, 2017
We are grateful to Mr.Harish Salve for presenting India's case so effectively before ICJ.â€” Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 18, 2017
I assure the nation that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi we will leave no stone unturned to save #KulbhushanJadhav.â€” Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 18, 2017
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu also said that this was a major victory for the country.
Major victory for India #KulbhushanJadhav case.ICJ upholds India's right to consular access,put a stay on death execution. Justice prevailsâ€” M Venkaiah Naidu (@MVenkaiahNaidu) May 18, 2017
In an earlier statement, the court had announced that it will "deliver its order on the request for the indication of provisional measures made by India in the Jadhav Case (India v. Pakistan), on Thursday" at noon (3.30pm IST) in a public sitting.
The decision comes after India on Monday sought the court's intervention for an immediate suspension of Jadhav's death sentence, fearing that the Indian national may be executed even before the ICJ decided the case.
Indian lawyer Harish Salve alleged that the trial of Jadhav, a former navy officer, was held under "farcical" circumstances in violation of the Vienna Convention.
The lawyer told the court that Jadhav was kidnapped in 2016 from Iran where he was pursuing his business after retiring from the Indian Navy, brought to Pakistan and was shown to have been arrested in Balochistan and presented as an alleged Indian spy.
His alleged confession admitting he worked for India's external spy agency R&AW and his involvement in terror activities was extracted in a military custody, Salve said.
He urged the court to direct Pakistan to see that Jadhav was not executed and "no action is taken that might prejudice the rights of India or Jadhav with respect to any decision the court may render on the merits of the case."
Jadhav was awarded the death sentence by a Pakistani military court last month, a year after he was arrested on espionage charges. Islamabad has rejected 16 Indian requests for consular access to Jadhav, held at an unknown prison in Pakistan.
Salve demanded that Pakistan should annul Jadhav's death sentence as he was not even given a chance to defend himself.
Pakistan, however, rejected the plea on the ground that India had no right to invoke the jurisdiction of the UN's highest court because the Vienna Convention does not provide for matters relating to spies, terrorists and those who indulge in espionage.
Islamabad also asked the court to reject India's plea for provisional measure in the case.
India approached the ICJ on May 8, accusing Pakistan of "egregious violations" of the Vienna Convention in the matter of the detention and trial of Jadhav.
Denying the charges, Pakistan has maintained that it had requested an Indian assistance in the investigation of Jadhav's alleged "involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan", which it said New Delhi did not provide.
The face-off over Jadhav has brought relations between the two rival neighbours to a new low.