Indian Judge at the ICJ?

According to a recent news report in The Hindu (here), India is looking to nominate a jurist for election to the ICJ to fill an Asian vacancy that will arise in February 2012 following the retirement of Judge Owada of Japan. The report notes that elections are expected to be held at the UN in September or October 2011.

India has thus far had three permanent judges at the ICJ: Sir Benegal Rau (1952-1953), Nagendra Singh (1973-1988 – Judge; 1976-1979 – Vice President; 1985-1988 – President), and Raghunandan Swarup Pathak (1989-1991). R. S. Pathak, the last Indian to be a permanent judge at the ICJ, was appointed to fill the vacancy arising from the demise of Nagendra Singh, and failed to get re-elected at the end of his term. On this, the report notes:

In 1991, India decided not to renominate Justice Pathak, who nevertheless entered the fray with the backing of Ireland. When the Irish government came under attack in the Dail from MPs who blamed the judge for approving, as CJI [Chief Justice of India], the “unjust” $470-million Bhopal gas disaster settlement with Union Carbide, Justice Pathak withdrew from the race. The Asian ‘slot’ was then filled by C.G. Weeramantry from Sri Lanka.

Apart from these permanent judges, several Indians have been appointed as ad hoc judges in specific disputes: M. C. Chagla (Portugal v. India), P. S. Rao (Malaysia/Singapore), and B. P. Jeevan Reddy (Pakistan v. India).

The Report goes on to outline the procedure that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs is likely to follow in nominating a candidate:

On receipt of a request from the National Group for seeking nominees, the Ministry of External Affairs will prepare for the elections. As a first step, the government is likely to identify a person it wishes to get elected. The National Group of India as well as National Groups of other friendly countries should also accept the preferred candidate of India as one of their nominees. There is no age restriction.

So, who is it going to be? A retired Supreme Court judge? P. S. Rao (he is also currently an arbitrator in a dispute between India and Bangladesh at the PCA)? An academician? A lawyer? Tips, speculation, and discussion are most welcome (remember, if it’s a scoop, you can always comment anonymously 🙂 ).


4 thoughts on “Indian Judge at the ICJ?

  1. Pingback: Images from the Past: Nagendra Singh | International Law Curry

  2. The times of India article states that the PCA has selected Senior SC Judge Justice Bhandari. Justice Bhandari is indeed a great Indian Judge but that does not qualify him for being a judge at the ICJ. The ICJ is an UN body that has very critical questions in front of it and without a full understanding of these issues a Judge will be easily lost. Judges from China and Japan sit in at the ICJ have decades of International Law experience and India needs someone who can go toe to toe with them. India has border issues with China and Pakistan and others and we needed to put the best candidate possible as other countries whose Judges sit at the ICJ have done. The ex-Secretary was Judge Dr. P. S Rao who had these decades of experience, was an Ad-Hoc Judge at ICJ from 2004 – 2008 and also the current member for the Bangladesh vs India case and would have been the right candidate as he is far more qualified to go up against other ICJ judges and protect India’s interests. I’m sure Judge Bhandari will do his best but for you need to get treated by the right specialist. Just like you don’t get treatment for lung cancer by an eye doctor, you need to have the right person with the right experience in the right job. But too often in India, not the right person is promoted for the right job and such is the case unfortunately here.

  3. Pingback: Indian Judge at the ICJ: New Developments | International Law Curry

  4. Pingback: (India; ICJ) Indian Judge at the ICJ: New Developments « My Law Journal

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