India gives judges’ names to Pakistan for panel’s revival

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Following External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s suggestion last year, India on Thursday communicated to Pakistan the names of four judges to revive the mechanism of the Joint Judicial Committee which looks into humanitarian issues of fishermen and prisoners in each other’s custody.

The names recommended from the Indian side are Justice (Retd.) Jaspal Singh, former Judge of the Delhi High Court; Justice (Retd.) Harshvadan B. Antani, former Judge of the Gujarat High Court; Justice (Retd.) Deo Narayan Thanvi, former Judge of the Rajasthan High Court; and Justice (Retd.) Indermeet Kaur Kochhar, former Judge of the Delhi High Court, according to an External Affairs Ministry statement.

In the face of the chill in bilateral relations, Sushma Swaraj suggested that the two sides could progress on humanitarian issues related to elderly, women, children and mentally unsound prisoners when Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood called on her in October last year after freshly assuming office.

The Joint Judicial Committee was first formed in 2007. It consisted of retired judges of the higher judiciary who visited and met prisoners in each other’s jails and proposed steps to ensure humane treatment and expedite release of prisoners and fishermen who have completed their prison terms.

The Committee met seven times and the last meeting was hosted by India in October 2013.

Going with Sushma Swaraj’s suggestion, Pakistan responded positively in March this year with then Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif approving the proposals.

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