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My re-election to ICJ is victory of India and all Indians: Dalveer Bhandari

Justice Dalveer Bhandari was elected to the world court securing 183 of the 193 votes in the United Nations general assembly and all 15 in the security council after Britain pulled out its candidate, Christopher Greenwood.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2017 22:27 IST
Ashok Bagriya
Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dalveer Bhandari,ICJ,International Court of Justice
India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin speaks during a reception in the honour of Justice Dalveer Bhandari (L) at the United Nations in New York on Monday.(PTI Photo)

Justice Dalveer Bhandari, who returns to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a second term after a hard-fought battle with the UK, said on Tuesday his re-election was a victory for India and all Indians.

The 70-year-old was elected to the world court securing 183 of the 193 votes in the United Nations general assembly and all 15 in the security council after Britain pulled out its candidate, Christopher Greenwood.

“The election this time was more eventful in the sense that it went on and on. And my re-election is more a victory of all Indians and the country,” Bhandari told Hindustan Times over the phone from New York a few hours after the polling.

The former Supreme Court judge was talking about 11 rounds of voting spread over several days, as the UK did everything possible to push Greenwood’s candidature.

“This is the first time that I witnessed election to the world court in the general assembly. Last time I was appointed against a seat that fell vacant,” said Bhandari, who joined the ICJ in 2012.

His second term begins February 2018 and he will be with the ICJ for nine years.

“My re-election will ensure representation of Indian legal system and civilization at the world court,” said Bhandari, whose orders as an SC judge ensured that those living below the poverty line got a bigger share of foodgrain.

Bhandari, who started out as a lawyer in the Rajasthan high court, was also instrumental in states setting up night shelters for the homeless.

His election, hailed as a diplomatic win for India, was more than a matter of prestige for India.

The ICJ is hearing India’s plea against the death sentence awarded to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court. The next hearing in the case, which has worsened ties between the two neighbours, is in December.

Asked about the impact his re-election would have on the case, Bhandari said, “No comments. The issue is pending in the world court.”

The 15-member ICJ is the UN’s top judicial organ that settles disputes between countries. Five judges are elected every three years and serve for nine years.

Bhandari is the fourth Indian to be a permanent ICJ judge. The other three were Sir Benegal Rau, Nagendra Singh and RS Pathak.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 22:27 IST