PREVIOUS YEAR UPSC LAW OPTIONAL MAINS QUESTION SOLVED SERIES | 2019 MAINS | PAPER 1 | PART B | QUEST


PREVIOUS YEAR UPSC LAW OPTIONAL MAINS QUESTION SOLVED SERIES | 2019 MAINS | PAPER 1 | PART B | QUESTION 5a – Compulsory part


QUESTION: “International Law is the vanishing point of Jurisprudence.” Explain


THINKER | Analytical Jurist Thomas Holland once remarked that International law is the vanishing point of Jurisprudence.


MEANING | Vanishing point is a point where parallel line on the same planes appear to meet. According to Holland, International law and jurisprudence are parallel to each other and hence are distinct and separate. Even though, it appears that they are the same at vanishing point.


RATIONALE | Holland considered that International law cannot be considered similar to other law because there no sovereign authority or any sanctions if the law is violated. Further, international law also lacks arbiter of disputed questions. He stated that International law can be described as law only by courtesy since the rights with which it is concerned cannot be described as legal.


This view may be correct at that time, but in present time this may not be the case. Due to changing nature of International law it cannot be said that International law lacks any authority.


Following points describes the changed nature of international law—

  • International court of justice have been accepted and continuously followed by states till date

EXAMPLE : The decision in Corfu Channel case on damage caused at sea and innocent passage still followed.

  • Judgments of international court of justice are binding on states

EXAMPLE : Recent decision of ICJ JHADAV CASE is binding on both India and Pakistan


JHADAV CASE : In May 2017, India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asserting that Pakistani authorities were denying India its right of consular access to Jadhav in violation of the Vienna Convention.


ICJ HELD : On 17 July 2019, ICJ rejected India's appeal for Jadhav's release and directed Pakistan to allow consular access and effectively review the death sentence. The court ordered that Pakistan should grant consular access to Jhadav. Pakistan and India both claimed victory and welcomed the judgement of ICJ

  • If in case, any state does not follow the judgment passed by International court of Justice, Security Council may give its recommendation against that state for its action.

EXAMPLE : Recently on 14 May 2019, the Security Council Committee pursuant to its resolutions has updated its sanction list concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al‑Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities


But now it is well settled that International Law is law. It is true that International Law is not enacted by sovereign and has no agency for its enforcement. But it is true that it is a weak law. A majority of International lawyers not subscribe to this view is based on the proposition that there are no sanctions behind international Law are much weaker than their counterparts in the municipal law, yet it cannot be successfully contended that there are no sanctions at all behind international law.


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