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moving International Court of Justice
SC issues notice to Centre on Capt Kalia’s parents’ plea
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 14
Sharing the agony of Dr NK Kalia, father of Kargil War hero Capt Saurabh Kalia, the Supreme Court today issued notice to the government seeking its response to his plea for taking Pakistan to task at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the inhuman torture of his son for 22 days before being shot dead in gross violation of the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.

“We share your agony. Maybe, more than what you have,” a Bench comprising Justices RM Lodha and Anil R Dave told Kalia’s advocate Arvind Kumar Sharma.

Acknowledging that the issue had international ramifications, the Bench, however, raised doubts over its powers to direct the government to take the matter to the ICJ.

“We have to see the extent of the court’s power in such matters. Being the highest court, we have to pass orders within the confines of the Constitution. We don’t want to exceed our powers. We can’t go beyond what the law permits,” the apex court remarked.

Counsel Sharma contended that Kalia had come to the SC as a last resort to get justice as his pleadings with the government fell on deaf ears. The Defence Ministry said the matter was pending with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which in turn averred that the External Affairs Ministry was taking action.

While India was shying away from accepting the plea, Pakistan had gone to the ICJ over an Indian plane just brushing past one its planes in 1990, he contended.

The Bench, however, persisted with its doubt: “Can the court take action in a matter relating an international treaty” (Geneva convention) in which the consent of both the nations was needed?”

Before issuing any directive to the government, the SC wanted to be “absolutely clear” that it had the jurisdiction by getting past the hurdles of doubts on this score, the Bench clarified. Further, if the government was willing to take the issue to the ICJ, then there was no need for SC’s interference, it reasoned.

Counsel Sharma said the apex court should at least ask the government as to what steps it had taken during the past 13 years.

In his PIL, Kalia had also sought justice for six fellow officers of his son who also had been meted out the same treatment. Born in June 1976 at Amritsar, Saurabh had joined the Army in January 1999 after his schooling at Palampur. He was captured alive by the Pakistan Army on May 15, 1999, and his body was handed over to India on June 9. 

Weather may have killed him: Malik

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday said he came to know about Captain Saurabh Kalia's case very recently, and added that it is not known whether he was killed with the Pakistani bullet or he died because of the weather. Malik, however, said that he would like to meet Captain Kalia's father to find out what exactly had happened with his son. — ANI





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