Extradition law to catch a fugitive

Extradition can be described as the process by which a country upon the request of another surrenders to the latter a person found ...

Written by Express News Service | Published: June 28, 2010 12:18 am

What is extradition?

Extradition can be described as the process by which a country upon the request of another surrenders to the latter a person found within its jurisdiction for trial and punishment or,if he has already been convicted,only for punishment,on account of a crime punishable by the laws of the requesting country and committed outside the territory of the requested country.

Why is it important?

Extradition plays an important role in the international battle against crime. It owes its existence to the so-called principle of territoriality of criminal law,according to which a state will not apply its penal statutes to acts committed outside its boundaries except where protection of special national interests is at stake.

How does it work in India?

The extradition of a fugitive from India to a foreign country or vice-versa is governed by the provisions of Indian Extradition Act,1962. The basis of extradition could be a treaty or an arrangement between India and a foreign country. Under Section 3 of the Act,a notification could be issued by the GoI extending the provisions of the Act to the country/countries notified. Information regarding the fugitive criminals wanted in foreign countries is received directly from the concerned country or through the General Secretariat of the ICPO-Interpol in the form of red notices. The Interpol Wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) passes it on to the concerned police organisations.

What are the provisions under law to pursue extradition?

*Indian Extradition Act Article No. 34 (b) of 1962 provides procedure for the arrest and extradition of fugitive criminals under certain conditions which includes receipt of the request through diplomatic channels only and under the warrant issued by a magistrate having a competent jurisdiction.

*The Section 41 (1) (g) of the CrPC 1973 authorises the police to arrest a fugitive criminal without a warrant. But they must immediately refer the matter to Interpol Wing for onward transmission to the GoI for taking a decision on extradition or otherwise.

*Section 188 CrPC 1973 applies to cases where the fugitive criminal is an Indian national,treating as if the offence has been committed at any place in India at which he may be found. The trial can only take place with the previous sanction of the Centre.

Does India have extradition treaties with other countries?

India has extradition treaties with several countries,including the US,UK,Russia,France,Germany,Spain,UAE,Switzerland,Mexico,Mauritius,Canada,Hong Kong,Belgium,Nepal,the Netherlands,Bhutan,Uzbekistan,Turkey,Mongolia,Tunisia,South Korea,Oman,South Africa,Bahrain,Poland,Ukraine,Kuwait.

Does India share extradition arrangements with any country?

Australia,Fiji,Italy,Singapore,Sri Lanka,Sweden,Thailand,Tanzania and Portugal are prominent nations India has extradition arrangements with.

How is an extradition filed?

Extradition request for an accused/ fugitive can be initiated after charge sheet has been filed before an appropriate court. The court,having taken cognisance,must have issued orders justifying accused/ fugitive’s committal for trial on the basis of evidence made available in the charge sheet. The court must have sought presence of the accused/ fugitive to face trial in the case before the request is filed.

What are the documents required to move an extradition request?

*A self-contained affidavit executed by the court by whom the fugitive is wanted or by a senior officer (not below the rank of Superintendent of Police) in charge of the case,sworn before a judicial magistrate of the concerned court.

*The affidavit must contain brief facts and history of the case,criminal’s description establishing his identity; provision of the law invoked etc. It must also reflect the law in question which was in force at the time of commission of the offences and whether it is still in force.

*The affidavit should indicate if the accused was extradited to India,he would be tried in India only for those offences for which his/ her extradition is sought.

*Copy of FIR.

*A letter/order from the concerned court justifying accused person’s committal for trial on the basis of evidence made available in the charge sheet.

*Warrant of arrest should be in original and open dated indicating only those offences for which the accused is charged and court has taken cognisance with relevant sections thereof.

*The request is to be made in quadruplet.

*The request should contain a letter/note from a senior official not below the rank of Joint Secretary.

What are the additional documents/ proofs required in the case of Warren Anderson?

The CBI in consultation with the Union Law Ministry has to provide additional evidence to prove Warren Anderson’s personal culpability in the Bhopal gas tragedy case.

Can the negotiating countries put forward their conditions?

The treaty varies from country to country and the negotiation is a two-way process where countries can put forward their conditions — as was evident in the case of Abu Salem. In February 2004,a Portugal court cleared his extradition to India to face trial in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case. In November 2005,Portuguese authorities handed him over along with Monica Bedi to the Indian authorities on the assurance by the then Home Minister L K Advani that death penalty would not be awarded to either him or Bedi.

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