Feb 15, 2022
Extradition Law: Bringing Fugitive Criminals to Justice
What is extradition?Extradition is the official transfer or delivery of a person from one country to another, so that the formal authority over the person shifts to the country where the person is transferred. The person who is transferred is either someone who is accused of a crime or a convicted criminal in the country to which he is being delivered. The crime for which the person is being transferred should also be a crime under the law of the country which is transferring the person. A country can make a request to another country to extradite a person so that the requesting country can appropriately deal with his crimes. An extradition request for an accused can be initiated in the case of under-investigation, under-trial and convicted criminals. While Chhota Rajan and Bannanje Raja were successfully extradited to India from Indonesia and Morocco respectively, the extradition process is still ongoing for Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, who are currently living in the United Kingdom. Recently, the Supreme Court ordered Mallya’s lawyers to give more information about the ‘secret’ proceedings that are delaying his extradition to India.
What is India’s law on extradition?The Extradition Act, 1962 regulates the extradition of fugitive criminals to and from India. A fugitive criminal is a person who is accused or convicted of an extradition offence in a foreign country. For example, ‘X’ commits a crime in the United States and then escapes to India to avoid being punished for his crime, ‘X’ is a fugitive criminal.
How do we bring back fugitive criminals from foreign countries?India has entered into extradition treaties with certain other countries like the UK, USA, Bangladesh, etc. An extradition treaty is an agreement or arrangement made by India with a foreign country relating to the extradition of fugitive criminals. Currently, we have extradition treaties with 43 countries. It is possible for India to make an extradition request to any country. If we have an extradition treaty with another country, the foreign country has an obligation to consider our extradition request. If we don’t have an extradition arrangement in place, the foreign country will consider our request keeping in mind its domestic laws and procedures. In relation to a foreign country with whom India has an extradition treaty or agreement, the meaning of an extradition offence is defined in the treaty itself. In other cases, an extradition offence can be any offence for which the punishment is imprisonment for at least one year under the laws of India, or the laws of a foreign country.
Which authority handles extraditions in India?The Consular, Passport and Visa Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is the Central Authority that administers the Extradition Act, and it processes incoming and outgoing extradition requests. Requests for extradition on behalf of India can only be made by the Ministry of External Affairs, which formally submits the request for extradition to the respective foreign country through diplomatic channels. Extradition is not available at the request of members of the public.
Does India extradite its own nationals?Yes, we allow Indian nationals to be extradited to foreign countries from India. However, in doing this, our country follows a dual system based on reciprocity. This means that an Indian national can be extradited to a foreign country only if that country also allows the extradition of its nationals to India. For example, consider that India has an extradition arrangement with a country ‘Y’. If Y does not permit the extradition of its nationals to India, India will also not allow the extradition of any Indian national to Y.
ConclusionThe concept of extradition advances the principle that no person should escape the reach of the law merely by using influence, power and finances to take refuge in a foreign jurisdiction. If India adopts an aggressive approach towards extradition, we can go a step further in ensuring that the Mallyas and Modis of the world answer to the legal system for their crimes.
Have a question you want to ask our legal experts?
Related Guest Blogs
February 14 2022
Torture in Police Custody: What Are Your Rights?
The issue of police brutality was recently brought back to light following the death of George Floyd in the United States. Soon, many across the world took to social media to highlight the problems of custodial torture prevalent in their countries. This wave also brought out the story of Jayaraj and Fenix from […]
February 09 2022
Unable to file an FIR due to police harassment? Here’s what to do
An FIR (First Information Report) is a document prepared by the police when they receive information about a crime or offence that has been committed. Typically, while filing an FIR, the police will ask multiple details regarding the complaint you have and give you a copy of the FIR to keep. An FIR is integral […]
February 09 2022
A Much Needed Guide To Navigating The Police System For The Indian Woman
Have you ever been eve-teased or harassed and not reported it because you just did not want to approach the police? Have you ever had even the slightest amount of fear to get something as simple as a passport verification done from the police? Or while asking for directions on the street, you have the […]