When a person commits a crime in one country and flees to another country, then it does not mean that he would not be punished for the crime committed by him just because he is not in the jurisdiction of the territory where the crime is committed. In such cases, extradition law applies. So extradition is the act by which the government of one country formally orders to hand over the alleged criminal to the authority in another country on demand by it so that he could be tried and prosecuted properly. The country asking for the extradition is called as the requesting state and the country in whose jurisdiction the criminal is presently residing is called as the requested state.
Persons who are extradited:
Who is charged with the commitment of a criminal offence and had fled before he was tried?
Who is convicted of an offence but the punishment is not fully served yet and had fled in between?
Treaties for extradition: Generally for the purpose of extradition, treaties are signed between the countries. This is because every country has sovereignty over its jurisdiction. Any person entering its jurisdiction is under its control and it is there with whether to give the criminal to another state or not. So extradition treaties are signed between various states to decide the conditions when the person would be extradited and when the extradition would be refused. But no state has an extradition treaty with every other state.
Principles for extradition:
Dual Criminality: The alleged crime for which the extradition is requested must be a crime in the requested state also. If the alleged crime is not a crime in the extraditing state, then the request for extradition may be rejected.
Non-extradition of their own nationals: Many countries have the policy of not extraditing their own nationals when they commit crimes in another state and flee back to their own state.
Principle of specificity: It means that the person extradited can be tried only for the purpose for which extradition was asked not for any other offence.
Political offenders: The crimes committed against the head of the state are excluded from the extradition policy generally except when the crimes are so heinous like that of crime against humanity, genocide etc.
Fear of harsh punishment: The requested state may refuse to extradite the person found on its jurisdiction when it fears that if the person is extradited, he would receive very harsh punishment which they themselves did not support such as capital punishment.
Giving of punishment twice: When the alleged criminal has already received punishment for the same offence, his extradition, may be refused.
Extradition in India: In India, extradition is regulated by the Extradition Act, 1962 in which the details are given about the nature of wrong for which extradition can be sought or be given. Generally, the act should be punishable for minimum one year for it to be an extraditable offence. It also states the countries with which India has extradition treaties. Presently India has the extradition treaty with about 38 countries.
Other necessary conditions to be fulfilled for seeking extradition:
- Request for extradition should be within the time period in which the person alleged can be tried, not after the completion of such time period.
- It has to be initiated by the central government.
- The request has to be made properly in written form and should be submitted to the required authority through the diplomatic channels.
- All the required documents should be attached with the written request, proving the prima facie charge on the person, time when the crime was committed, place and all the charges.
- The requested state has the right to fully investigate the truthfulness of the request and then extradite.
- If the extradition is demanded by various states for the same person, then the requested state checks the gravity of the offence is more to which state and all other conditions.
- If the extradition is rejected then the reasons for such refusal should be stated in writing.
- All the expenses for extradition are to be borne by the requesting state.
An example of successful extradition: Abu Salem’s case: He was accused as one of the criminals in Mumbai blast and he fled to Portugal. Initially, Portugal agreed to extradite him on the assurance that he would not be given the death penalty. Portugal refused to extradite him when a fresh case was started against him in India which stated of giving him the death penalty and they said that India had broken the rules for extradition. But later on after various appeals, he was extradited.
Extradition is not such an easy process. We have failed to take extradition of various criminals till now like Dawood Ibrahim, Vijay Mallya. The exceptions are to be clearly taken care. But extradition is a very important concept which needs to be made stronger. To create fear in the mind of wrongdoers that they just can’t escape from being punished by fleeing to another country. To prevent the application of personal laws of a country, extradition policies are required. In the absence of extradition policy between the countries, extradition is done on the basis of cooperation of countries and on the basis of equity and natural justice.