The Indian government defines extradition as the “process by which one state upon the request of another surrenders to the latter a person found within its jurisdiction for trial and punishment or, if he has been already convicted, only for punishment, on account of a crime punishable by the laws of the requesting state and committed outside the territory of the requested state”.
The CBI on its web site says that extradition “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 own boundaries except where the protection of special national interests is at stake”. The process of extradition, it says, is premised on the “solidarity of nations in the repression of criminality”.
India can make an extradition request to any country. While India’s treaty partners have treaty obligations to consider India’s requests, in the absence of a treaty, it is a matter for the foreign country to consider, in accordance with its domestic laws and procedures, whether the country can agree to India’s extradition request on the basis of an assurance of reciprocity, the Ministry of External Affairs says on its web site.
Just as India can request any country for an extradition, any country can make a similar extradition request to India. The legal basis for extradition with states with whom India does not have an extradition treaty — described as “non-Treaty States” — is provided by Section 3(4) of the Indian Extradition Act, 1962.
India currently has extradition treaties with 39 countries. The UK is among them. The oldest treaty is, interestingly, with Chile, with which the government of British India entered into an agreement back in 1897. The first extradition treaty signed by independent India was with Belgium in 1958, followed by Nepal in 1963. Besides extradition treaties, India also has extradition arrangements with 10 countries.
Unlike deportation, extradition is a judicial process. According to the CBI web site, a request to extradite an accused/fugitive can be initiated after a chargesheet has been filed before an appropriate court and the court has sought the presence of the accused/fugitive to face trial in the case. All extradition requests must be supported by documents and information as per the provisions of the extradition treaty.