Prelims Syllabus : International – Bilateral Mains Syllabus : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests.
Why in News?
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing and ratifying of the Extradition Treaty between the Republic of India and the Kingdom of Belgium.
- Obligation to Extradite:
- Each Party agrees to extradite to the other any person found in its territory, who is accused or convicted of an extraditable offence in the territory of the other Party.
- Extraditable Offences:
- An extraditable offence means an offence punishable under the laws of both the Parties with imprisonment for a period of one year or more severe punishment.
- Where extradition is sought in respect of a convicted person, the duration of the sentence remaining to be served must be at least six months at the time of making the request.
- Offences relating to taxation, or revenue or is one of a fiscal character also fall within the scope of this Treaty.
- Mandatory grounds for Refusal:
- Under the Treaty, extradition shall be refused if:
- The offence involved is a political offence. However, the Treaty specifies certain offences, which will not be considered as political offences.
- The offence for which extradition is requested is a military offence.
- The request for prosecution has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or
- punishing the person on account of his race, sex, religion, nationality or political opinion.
- The prosecution of enforcement of sentence has become time barred.
Extradition of Nationals:
- Extradition of nationals is discretionary.
- The nationality will be determined at the time the offence was committed.
- The Treaty also contains provisions on:
- Assurance in case of Capital punishment (Article 3 (7))
- Central Authorities (Article 6)
- Surrender (Article 11)
- Handing over of Property (Article 18)
- Transit (Article 19)
- Protection of Personal Data (Article 21)
- Expenses incurred in extradition (Article 22)
- Consultations (Article 24)
- Mutual legal assistance relating to extradition (Article 25)
- Entry into Force Amendment and Termination of the Treaty (Article 26)
- The Treaty would provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, Economic Offenders, and other criminals from and to Belgium.
- After ratification, the Treaty will enter into force from the date of exchange of instruments of ratification between India and Belgium.
- The new Extradition Treaty will replace the pre-Independence Extradition Treaty between Great Britain and Belgium of 1901 that was made applicable to India through the exchange of Letters in 1958 and is currently in force between the Republic of India and the Kingdom of Belgium.
- Due to the present procedural requirements and the fact that only limited number of offences are listed under the pre-Independence Treaty, the same has become obsolete in today’s context.
What is Extradition?
- Extradition is the surrender by one State to another of a person desired to be dealt with forcrimes for which he has been accused or convicted and which are justifiable in the courtsof the other States.
- Surrender of a person within the State to another State whether a citizen or an alien is a political act done in pursuance of a treaty or an arrangement ad hoc.
- A Request for Extradition can be initiated against a fugitive criminal, who is formally accused of, charged with, or convicted of an extradition offence.
- ‘Fugitive Criminal’ means a person who is accused or convicted of an extradition offence within the jurisdiction of a foreign State and includes a person who, while in India, conspires, attempts to commit or incites or participates as an accomplice in the commission of an extradition offence in a foreign State.
Legislative Basis for Extradition in India:
- The Extradition Act 1962 provides India’s legislative basis for extradition.
- The Act consolidated the law relating to the extradition of fugitive criminals from India to foreign states.
- It was substantially amended by Act 66 of 1993.
- The Government of India has entered into bilateral Extradition Treaties with 42 countries to bring speed and efficiency to the process of extradition. Besides, India has entered into Extradition Arrangements with 9 more countries. Requests for Extradition on behalf of the Republic of India can only be made by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, which formally submits the request for Extradition to the Requested State through diplomatic channels.
- Such requests are sent under the signature of the Minister of External Affairs.