Delhi High Court: Hearing a public interest petition relating to the issue of release of an Indian citizen Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav claiming that he has been illegally detained in Pakistan at an unknown location and  illegally sentenced by a military court in Pakistan as per a press release dated 10th April, 2017, the Court dismissed the petition observing that the respondents are best placed to take the decision as also all appropriate steps to safeguard the life and liberty of the citizens of this country, given that all efforts are being made by the Government to ensure his life and well being.

The petitioner contended that Kulbhushan was being denied consular access in contravention of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 and sought a direction to the government to approach the International Court of Justice for securing his release and providing consular access. In addition,  a writ was also sought against the respondents to issue protocol for the release of Indians abducted or kidnapped in other country.

The Additional Solicitor General of India, Mr. Sanjay Jain submitted that the Government had reacted with promptitude at the highest level, with Parliament being apprised of the efforts undertaken by the Government and that such sensitive matters are purely in the domain of the governmental function and policy.

The Division Bench comprising of Gita Mittal, Actg. C.J. and Anu Malhotra, J. observed that  the matters involved are of such sensitivity that it would be inappropriate and impermissible to have a discussion in an open court room, especially about the efforts of the Government to secure justice for its citizens. More importantly, any revelation regarding the efforts being made by the respondents may prejudice their success or frustrate the steps in this regard.

The Court also observed that it appears an attempt is being made by the petitioner to seek disclosure of highly confidential matters regarding which secrecy has to be maintained for the obvious reason of ensuring the safety of the life and liberty of the Indian Citizen. Observing that this matter best deserves to be left to the expertise and assessment by the respondents, the Court held that no intervention is called for as the concerns raised by the petitioner are being addressed by the Government. [Rahul Sharma v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 7943, decided on 19-04-2017]

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