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Presumption Against the Violation of International Law

The guiding principle is that statutory provisions align with international law. Courts aim to interpret laws in such a way that they don't conflict with international law, even if there is an inconsistency between the two. Clarity and unambiguity of terms may allow for enforcing a statute despite international and state laws being at odds. Parliament is presumed not to act in violation of international law or treaty obligations.

The presumption exists that if India signs a treaty, it does not intend to breach said treaty according to courts.

In the realm of international relations and law, one principle that is widely embraced is the "presumption against the violation of international law." It is an expectation that states abide by customary international law regulations and their international legal obligations.

This phenomenon is often exemplified by a country's adoption of a foreign policy measure or implementation of a new law. The ambiguity revolving around whether this action adheres to international law or contravenes it remains unclear. This leads to the assumption being made that the said state's performance is not breaking any international laws. This assumption translates to the idea that states act as per international law unless otherwise proved wrong.

As a rule, international law assumes that states uphold their legal responsibilities, though if hard proof indicates otherwise, this notion can be debated. Consequently, sanctions or penalties may be levied by international law due to a state's neglect to satisfy its commitments.

Stability in international relations can only be maintained through the presumption of innocence. This is because it motivates states to comply with their international legal obligations while shifting responsibility to those making accusations. The prevalence of evidence is necessary to prove violations of international law and ensures that all parties involved are responsible for their actions. This is why the presumption of innocence is crucial for accountability.

Near a controversial border, State A performs military drills, causing State B to claim violations of international law and a threat to territorial sovereignty. Despite the protest, State A argues its use of its own territory does not break any international laws.

The presumption is that State A follows international law and doesn't cross State B's sovereignty, as per current events. To change this, concrete evidence is required from State B that gives proof of State A's violation of international law. Without it, State A will still have the advantage.

Illustrating an example, it emphasizes that the burden of proof against the violation of international law was laid upon the state which claims violation and hence, the necessity of providing irrefutable evidence arises.

Article 253 of the Constitution of India
Pertaining to international treaties and agreements, Article 253 of the Indian Constitution outlines the Parliament of India's legislative power.

International agreements can be given effect through legislation according to Article 253.

Parliament has the power to make laws for implementing international treaties and decisions, for the whole or part of India. This includes agreements and conventions with other countries, as well as conferences or associations with other bodies. These provisions are independent of any preceding laws outlined in this Chapter.

India's Parliament has the power to enact laws that put international agreements and treaties into action within the country. To fulfil its international commitments, Parliament can establish legislation as needed. This affirms the idea that any international pact entered into by India demands domestic legislation to make certain it is enforced appropriately.

Interplay between International Law and Domestic Law
India's Supreme Court grapples with comprehending the intricate interplay between their domestic legal framework and international law. The far-reaching effects of international law span various domains including human rights, investment, trade, the environment, and health and have significantly impacted countries worldwide. Consequently, comprehending the relationship between international law and domestic law holds immense significance.

The omnipresent nature of international law demands an accurate understanding of its implications. In comparison to certain nations, that regard international law as a part of their legal system (termed the principle of monism), India follows the principle of dualism. Here, international law doesn't become enforceable under the Indian constitution until the passing of domestic regulations that put it into action. This can be seen in Article 253, which grants parliament the authority to create laws that implement international law.

  • In Jolly George Vargheese v. Bank of Cochin, AIR 1980 SC 470, 1980 SCR (2) 913, Supreme Court followed the doctrine of presumption and assumed that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 is binding on Indian Courts because India is the member.
  • In Mirzaali Akbar v. The United Arab Republic, AIR 1966 SC 230, 1966 SCR (1) 319, the case against the foreign ruler in the Calcutta court was held not maintainable as the Government did not give consent.
  • In the case of Jeeja Ghosh v. Union of India, the Supreme Court declared its verdict, which reads as follows:
For its affirmation of the dignity of individuals with disabilities, the recent case is worthy of recognition. It arose from a public interest litigation filed after Spice Jet unjustly removed Jeeja Ghosh from a flight due to her disability. The court decreed the airline's actions illegal and mandated a payment of Rs. 10 lakhs to the petitioner. Furthermore, the court referenced international law in support of the rights of individuals with disabilities in coming to this decision. India's internal legislation must abide by international commitments, according to para 13 of the ruling.

The VCLT, or Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties from 1963, contains provisions stating that countries cannot use their own internal laws as excuses for failing to fulfil treaty obligations. Article 27 specifies this limitation for "State parties," while Article 26 mandates that countries perform their treaty duties with sincerity and good intentions. This principle decrees that every treaty signed by a country is binding on them.

In the international arena, there are substantial implications to the presumption against violation of international law. It is a fundamental element in upholding worldwide conditions and encouraging a structured global system. Sanctions, reputational damage, or even military intervention are possible punishments for global violations, which successfully deters governments. This system of global incentives motivates states to comply with international norms and agreements, effectively reducing the chances for hostile confrontations. Essentially, the presumption of these deterrent measures is extremely potent.

Encouragement of accountability and cooperation is the second benefit of following international obligations. This requires states to conform their internal laws and actions in line with the international agreements they have made. In turn, this collaboration results in the joint effort towards the preservation of the environment, protection of human rights, trade promotion, and peacekeeping. Failure to comply with the agreements may result in diplomatic conflicts, legal suits, and charges, incentivizing states to comply with their commitments.

Promoting stability, cooperation, and safeguarding global rights is the fundamental principle of the presumption against violating international law. By creating a shared legal framework, states are reminded to uphold a conduct that encourages predictability and orderliness in the world.

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