Mar 11, 2022

5 things you didn’t know about India’s extradition law

The Supreme Court has ordered Vijay Mallya’s lawyers to give more information about the ‘secret’ proceedings that are delaying his extradition to India from the United Kingdom. The UK Supreme Court has already ruled in favour of Mallya’s extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering. Our Supreme Court has now ordered Mallya’s lawyers to provide clarifications by November 2 on the nature of the ‘confidential’ proceedings, when they will end, and when Mallya will appear before our Supreme Court.

  1. 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.

  1. What is India’s law on extradition?

The Extradition Act, 1962 regulates the law relating to India’s extradition of fugitive criminals. A fugitive criminal is a person who is accused or convicted of an extradition offence in a foreign country.

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.

  1. What is an extradition offence?

In relation to a foreign country with whom India has an extradition treaty or agreement, the extradition offence is set out or 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Which countries can India make an extradition request to?

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 case of urgency, India may request the temporary arrest of a criminal even before submitting an extradition request. A provisional arrest request is usually made when there is a possibility that the criminal may flee the country.

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