Examine the scope and significance of the International Court of Justice‘s (ICJ‘s ) jurisdiction. Also examine how has India benefited from ICJ. (200 Words)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is a principal judicial arm of the United Nations. It is headquartered at the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands. The International Court of Justice has two types of jurisdictions. These are –
  1. Contentious Jurisdiction
    1. The ICJ acts as a world court. As such it decides disputes of a legal nature submitted to it by member states. This comes under Contentious Jurisdiction. However, the ICJ only has jurisdiction over any dispute, if the both concerned parties (states) submit to the jurisdiction of ICJ. This can be done in two ways –
      1.  Voluntary Jurisdiction – Under this, a state accepts jurisdiction of ICJ for a particular case or class of cases.
      2. Compulsory Jurisdiction – Under this, the jurisdiction of ICJ is mandated by a treaty or a pre-existing agreement.
  2. Advisory Jurisdiction – Under this, the other arms of United Nations or other international bodies can approach ICJ for a non-binding legal advisory opinion on a particular issue.
In 1974, India made a declaration by which it made jurisdiction of ICJ ipso facto compulsory with certain reservations. India has been party to 5 cases at the ICJ but only one of them was referred by India.
  1. In 1954, Portugal referred a case to ICJ against India denying it right of passage to the then Portuguese territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The case was decided in India’s favour in 1960.
  2. In 1971, India referred to ICJ the question of jurisdiction of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to decide on Pakistan’s protest against being right overflight and landing rights by India. ICJ however, ruled against India in this case.
  3. 2013-14, Kishen Ganga project– ruled in favour of India against Pakistan
  4. 2014-15, Marshall islands dragged India over obligations concerning nuclear disarmament- in process
In addition, India’s image has been enhanced by the Indian judges who have been appreciated for their knowledge, legal acumen and diplomacy



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