A viral message on social media claimed that former judge of Supreme Court, Dalveer Bhandari, has been elected as the 'Chief Justice' of International Court of Justice (ICJ). The message further credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government for the development.
However, The Quint's WebQoof team found that it's a false claim as there is no designation by the name of 'chief justice' at ICJ. Justice Bhandari is one of the 15 judges at the organisation and he became a member of the ICJ for the first time in 2012, under the UPA government.
The text of the message reads: "*भारत* की शानदार जीत ... मोदीजी की कूटनीति से... विश्व पटल पर ब्रिटेन की हार यह एक शास्त्रीय उदाहरण है कि कैसे पीएम मोदीजी ने दुनिया भर में संबंध विकसित किए हैं। न्यायमूर्ति दलवीर भंडारी को अंतर्राष्ट्रीय न्यायालय के मुख्य न्यायाधीश के रूप में चुना गया है।"
(Translated: Brilliant victory for India due to Modiji's diplomacy... Britain's defeat on the world stage is a classic example of how PM Modiji has developed relations across the world. Justice Dalveer Bhandari has been elected as the 'Chief Justice' of the International Court of Justice.)
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We searched on Google with keywords 'Dalveer Bhandari' and came across news reports published in 2017. As per the reports, Justice Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected as a judge in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However, there is no mention of him being elected as the 'chief justice'.
We also found a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 21 November 2017 that corroborated the aforementioned details. It further stated that the United Kingdom (UK) withdrew its candidate after a "closely fought electoral process."
But, nowhere in the release is it mentioned that Justice Dalveer Bhandari was made the 'chief justice' of the ICJ.
Meanwhile, PM Modi too had congratulated Justice Bhandari in 2017 for his re-election to the ICJ.
POST OF 'CHIEF JUSTICE' DOESN'T EXIST IN ICJ
We ran a search on ICJ's official website to find if a post of 'chief justice' exists at the organisation. While the organisation consists of 15 member-judges, a President and a Vice President, there is no designation by the name of 'chief justice.'
THEN, WHAT IS THE DESIGNATION OF JUSTICE BHANDARI AT ICJ?
Dalveer Bhandari is one of the 15 member-judges at the ICJ and his profile available on the website can be viewed here.
DID DALVEER BHANDARI BECOME A JUDGE AT ICJ DURING MODI GOVERNMENT?
The answer is no. As per the information available on ICJ's website, Justice Bhandari has been a member of the ICJ since 27 April 2012, ie, during the UPA government regime.
He was re-elected as a member from 6 February 2018 for a term of nine years.
AN INDIAN JUDGE WAS ICJ'S PRESIDENT IN 1985
A list of names of all judges of the ICJ since the organisation came into being is also available on the website and it can be seen that Justice Bhandari is not the first India judge to become a member of the ICJ.
The other Indian judges include Raghunandan Swarup Pathak (1989 -1991), Sir Benegal Rau (1952-53), Nagendra Singh (between 1973 and 1988). Singh was also the President of ICJ from 1985-1988.
Evidently, social media users falsely claimed that Justice Dalveer Bhandari has been elected as the 'chief justice' of ICJ.
(This story was first published on Quint Hindi on 10 September.)