sunil kumar

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Dean Maxwell & Isle Cohen Doctoral Seminar in International Law Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law

Faculty of Law, McGill University



By Dr. Sunil Kumar Agarwal


The effects of international law on the domestic legal order on various countries of the World are

manifold. In countries which follow "monist‟ school, international treaties can be invoked before or applied by the judiciary. These are so-called self-executing treaties. On the other hand,

countries like India follow the "dualist‟ school of law in respect of implementation of international law at domestic level. Therefore, in India, International treaties do not automatically form part of

national law. They must, where appropriate, be incorporated into the legal system by a legislation

made by the Parliament.

Indian Judiciary, though not empowered to make legislations, is free to interpret India‟s obligations under international law into the municipal laws of the country in pronouncing its

decision in a case concerning issues of international law. In this respect, the Indian judiciary has

played a proactive role in implementing India‟s international obligations under International treaties, especially in the field of human rights and environmental law. This paper examines the

role of Indian judiciary in the implementation of International law in India in the context of

relevant constitutional provisions.


Entering into international treaties and agreements is one of the attributes of State

sovereignty. 1 Though International law requires a State to carry out its international

obligations undertaken by it by ratifying international treaties, but it does not govern the

process of incorporating international law into municipal law. In fact, the States follow


The principle of sovereign equality as embodied in the UN Charter is the cornerstone of the international

relations between the States.