What is consular access?

Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death row by Pakistan's military court on the charges of espionage. The execution, was, however, put on hold after India appealed to the World Court in May. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: December 25, 2017 2:53 pm
Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan, Kulbhushan Jadhav pakistan, Kulbhushan Jadhav wife Kulbhushan Jadhav (File)

Former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to death row by Pakistan’s military court on the charges of espionage. The execution, was, however, put on hold after India appealed to the World Court in May.

India has repeatedly sought consular access to Jadhav, under the rules of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.  Article 36 of this treaty states that “foreign nationals who are arrested or detained be given notice without delay of their right to have their embassy or consulate notified of that arrest. If the detained foreign national so requests, the police must fax that notice to the embassy or consulate, which can then check up on the person. The notice to the consulate can be as simple as a fax, giving the person’s name, the place of arrest, and, if possible, something about the reason for the arrest or detention.” Read | Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

Under this international treaty, a framework for consular relations between independent states is clearly defined. The appointed officer usually protects the interests of his countrymen while operating in a foreign location. He is also instrumental in strengthening the relations between his home country and the host country. In layman terms, this implies the ability of the citizens of a country to have communication with the diplomats and officers of their country while held in a foreign location.

Pakistan has, however, outrightly denied India access to Jadhav on the ground that it was not applicable in cases related to “spies,” a charge which India has repeatedly rejected.


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  1. Radhakrishnan Mannadiar
    Dec 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm
    Pakistan is playing with fire. The world opinion that it is a rogue terriristan is getting proved and unfortunately Pakistan is also living up to that. When a mother see his child after a long period and that too likely to be executed, she will start talking to him in local mother tongue and not English as KY was made to speak with , probably, a gun pointed to him. Why the glass par ion? Where is the security threat from the wife and mother? As per international convention Pakistan is bound to allow Consular access , however , India's repeated requests have so far fallen on deaf years. When every thing is said and done the doubt is whether the entire drama is a stage managed one or not! The skull just near the ear lobe was carrying injury marking , indicative of severe cruelty , perhapps inflicted at the time of extracting a confession . Can India tolerate such an act of kidnapping and torture of its citizens? It can be any Indian from any where and India has to make the pakis pay th