Every time an offender stealthily leaves India to take refuge in another country, the Government of India starts all over again with its strategy of bringing him back to the nation to make him stand in a trial and punish him for his offence. The biggest question that pops up in such a situation is that of extradition and whether such a relationship exists between India and the nation where the offender has taken refuge. Recently, many cases of bank fraud and white-collar crimes have brought to the focus in the world.
Definition of Extradition
The term extradition denotes the process whereby under the treaty or upon a basis of reciprocity one state surrenders to another state at its request a person accused or convicted of a criminal offence committed against the laws of the requesting state, such requesting state is competent to try the alleged offender.
Extraditable persons may include:
- Persons charged with a crime but not yet tried.
- Persons who have been tried and convicted but have escaped custody.
- Persons convicted in absentia.
Extradition Treaties between India and Other States:
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on behalf of the Government of India acts as the central authority with regards to extradition treaties, arrangements and requests. According to the MEA, India has signed extradition treaties with 47 nations and has extradition arrangements with 11 nations.
1.Treaty between India and Germany-India and Germany signed an extradition treaty at Berlin on 27th June 2001.
2.Treaty between India and Russia-India and Russia signed an extradition treaty and this was approved and ratified by Russia on 15thApril 2000.
3.Treaty between India and Spain-The extradition treaty between these 2 countries was filed in June 2002.
4.Treaty between India and France-These two countries signed the treaty on 24thJanuary, 2003, prior to this treaty there were many criminals or terrorists which were to be extradited to India who might be given death penalty but for this India removed such apprehension by giving an understanding that terrorists extradited to India would not be given death penalty.
5. Treaty between India and Canada-Desiring to make more effective the cooperation of the two countries in the suppression of crime by making provision for the extradition of offenders. Therefore the Government of India signed an extradition treaty on 6thFebruary 1987.
6. Treaty between India and Hong Kong-This treaty between India and Hong Kong was signed when Hong Kong was not the part of the china i.e. in the middle of 1997.Since China has announced that China will abide by international treaties signed during the British Rule, it is hoped that China will abide by this treaty.
7. Treaty between India and U.S.A: India and America have been cooperating with each other for a long time for curbing extremism and terrorism. Recently America extradited Daya Singh Lahoria at the request of the Government of India.
Procedure of Extradition
In India, the process of extradition is partly administrative and partly judicial. The process is also different for both – extradition of an offender from India to a foreign state and extradition of an offender to India from a foreign state.
Extradition from India to Foreign State
1) Extradition Request
- Through diplomatic channels between India and the requesting country
- Red notice received by the General Secretariat of Interpol
- Other settled modes of communication
2) Judicial Inquiry
Once the extradition request has been received, the Central Government issues an order to jurisdictional Magistrate to issue a warrant for the arrest of the offender.
3) Removal to the Foreign State
At any time after the offender has been imprisoned, the Central Government may issue a warrant for custody and removal of the offender to the foreign State at the place and to the person specified in the warrant.
Extradition from Foreign State to India
1) According to the Comprehensive Guidelines for Investigation Abroad and Issue of Letters Rogatory issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs for causing investigation abroad, extradition requests can be fulfilled by-
- Filing of Charge Sheet
- Cognizance of the charge sheet by a Judicial Magistrate
- Issuance of an arrest warrant seeking and justifying the presence of the accused at the trial
2) The request is in the form of a self-contained affidavit issued by the Magistrate, making out a prima facie case against the accused. For this purpose, the Magistrate provides:
- Facts of the case and statement of witnesses
- Description and identity of the accused
- Justification of the accused person’s committal to trial based on the evidence in the charge sheet
- Copy of the First Information Report
Then Magistrate provides the original and open-dated warrant of arrest of the offender in the foreign State, which is then sent to that State with the request of the Ministry of External Affairs to extradite that offender to India.
Some Indian Cases on Extradition
Recently, the UK’s Home Department has approved the extradition of Nirav Modi, a diamond merchant to India in connection with the Rupees 13,758-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud. India and the UK entered into an extradition treaty in 1992.
Ram Babu Saxena V. State – This case deals with section 7 of Indian Extradition Act, 1903. His lordship concluded that the Extradition Treaty between the Tonk State and the British Government in 1869 is not capable of being given effect to in the present day in view of the merger of the Tonk State in the United State of Rajasthan. As no treaty rights exist, Section 18 of Extradition Act has no application and as Section 7 of the Act has been complied with there is no ground upon which we can interfere. Thus the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.
Extradition is a great step towards international cooperation in the suppression of crime. States should treat extradition as an obligation resulting from the international solidarity in the fight against crime. With the growing internationalization of crime and judicial developments, extradition law is in a state of great flux.
Jurisprudence in the area of extradition law is evolving at a rapid pace and it is hoped that the Indian Judiciary will match up to global standards and resolve the extremely vexing legal challenges posed to it.
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