Former Solicitor General Harish Salve, the maverick lawyer, who advocated the cause of India at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case felt vindicated as the world top court ruled in favour of New Delhi.
Salve, while addressing the media in London, said he had a degree of personal satisfaction now that Jadhav has been granted consular access by the court.
Jadhav was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.
It was at this crucial point that Salve was taken on board and he fought the case for Re 1.
"I have a degree of personal satisfaction. I want to start by expressing gratitude of my country to the ICJ for the manner in which it intervened in this case. It protected Kulbhushan Jadhav from being executed, in a hearing which was put together in a matter of days," Salve told the reporters.
He added, "Pakistan repeatedly played slides of what it claimed was passport it had recovered from Jadhav. Not only did the court get drawn into it, this displaying passport led to the court rejecting Pakistan's argument that Jadhav's nationality was uncertain."
Salve, however, did not seem too certain of Pakistan giving a fair trial to Jadhav.
"If it [the case] is back in the [Pakistan] military court with the same rules where outside lawyers aren't allowed, we aren't allowed, access isn't given, and evidence isn't given; it won't meet standards," he said.
The verdict in the high-profile case came nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.
The ICJ on Wednesday, bit-by-bit and sentence-by-sentence, called out the lies told by Pakistan.
In a 15:1 verdict, the ICJ flattened Pakistan's pride, affirming the 49-year old retired Indian Navy officer's right to consular access and notification.
The court further directed Pakistan to provide effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences.
The world court added that Jadhav’s death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan effectively reviews and reconsiders the conviction/sentence in light of Pakistan’s breach of Art 36(1) i.e. denial of consular access and notification.
The court, however, rejected most of the remedies sought by India, including annulment of military court decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the "egregious violation" of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
A bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
Pakistan had rejected India's plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its "spy".
However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.
A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case took place in February amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14.
During the hearing in ICJ, both India and Pakistan submitted their detailed pleas and responses.
India based its case on two broad issues -- breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution.
Harish Salve questioned the functioning of Pakistan's notorious military courts and urged the top UN court to annul Jadhav's death sentence, which is based on an "extracted confession".
In his submission in the ICJ on the last day of the hearing, Pakistan's counsel Khawar Qureshi said, "India's claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible."