Permanent Court of Arbitration Current Affairs - 2019
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The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands has ruled against Antrix Corporation in the case with Devas Corporation over sharing of spectrum on satellites.
A PCA tribunal has found that the Union Government’s actions in annulling a contract between Devas and Antrix Corporation Ltd.
It also found that it has denied Devas commercial use of S-band spectrum constituted an expropriation (state actions in modifying the property rights of an individual in the exercise of its sovereignty. Following the ruling, India may have to give 1 billion compensation to Devas.
What is the case?
- In 2005, Devas Corporation and Antrix Corporation had struck a deal which had provided for the launch of two satellites allowing Devas.
- These satellites were to establish a hybrid satellite and terrestrial communications network to supply wireless audio-visual, broadband and mobile internet service across India.
- But later, Antrix Corporation terminated the contract citing changes in Indian policy and that the allocation of S-band Spectrum to companies unconnected with India’s space programme was now regarded as a risk to national security.
- Devas had moved to PCA, citing Antrix had contended that the national security and force majeure issues reasons for termination of deal as “contrived excuses”.
- It also had asked damages amounting to 1.6 billion dollars from Indian Government under the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Arbitration Rules.
About Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
- PCA is an intergovernmental organization established in 1899. It is located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
- It is not a court in the traditional sense, but a permanent framework for arbitral tribunals constituted to resolve specific disputes.
- PCA seeks to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution involving various combinations of states, state entities, international organizations and private parties.
- It was the first permanent intergovernmental organization that provided a forum for the resolution of international disputes through arbitration and other peaceful means.
- The PCA also administers cases under the arbitration rules of the UNCITRAL.
Antrix Corporation: It is the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is an anglicised version of Antariksha, from the Sanskrit word for “space”. It functions under the aegis of Department of Space (DoS), an independent Department directly working under the Prime Minister.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Hague, the Netherlands has rejected China’s claims to economic rights across large swathes of South China Sea.
Ruling in this regard was given by a five-member tribunal appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague in a case brought by the Philippines.
The ruling came from an arbitration tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which both China and Philippines have signed. The ruling is binding but the tribunal has no powers for enforcement.
- There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the South China Sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.
- China has violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights and also caused severe harm to the coral reef environment by building artificial islands in South China Sea.
- China’s rights are incompatible with the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) provided in the UNCLOS.
- The current round of tension between Philippines and China began in 2009 after a tense stand-off over Scarborough Shoal, which led to China to gain de facto control of it in 2012.
- Philippines had lodged its suit against China at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seain 2013, saying China has violated the UNCLOS to which both countries are signatories.
- China has boycotted the tribunal ever since Philippines had filed the petition in The Hague international court.
- Earlier in 2013, China also had set up an ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) over similarly disputed territory in the East China Sea.
Disputes in South China Sea
- Disputes in South China Sea are fight mainly between China, Philippines, Vietnam over the territorial sovereignty in South China Sea along with other atolls, reefs and rocky outcrops.
- China’s claim: It is saying that major portion of these islands belong to them as part of the historical events and area defined by Nine Dash Line.
- Under its claim, China already has started and even completed building artificial islands and even strategic runways for mobilising its airforce from these islands.
- China’s claim overlap the South Chia Sea areas of different claimants countries, that involve Brunei, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia.
- Importance of South China Sea: It is strategically located and major international shipping route as world’s half merchant ships passes through it.
- The sea rich in energy (reserves of natural resources around them including petroleum), mineral and fishing resources.
- India’s position: Supports freedom of navigation and flight and unimpeded commerce based on the principals of international law in South China Sea.
- Believes that states should resolve deputes through peaceful means and exercise self – restraint.