The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for the signing and ratification of the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania.
The Treaty would provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from and to Lithuania.
The Treaty would help in the extradition of fugitive criminals including terrorists for criminal prosecutions from Lithuania who may have committed crimes against India. It will bring the criminals to justice, with a view to ensuring peace and tranquillity to the public at large.
What is extradition?
Extradition is the surrender of a criminal to one country by another. It also helps in maintaining the territoriality of the penal code which says that a country should not apply its criminal law to a person who committed an offence outside its territories except when the crime is related the countries national interest. The process is regulated by treaties between the two countries.
What are the internationally accepted conditions for extradition?
There is a general consensus about few conditions of extradition. The crime should fulfil the criterion of dual criminality, i.e. it is a punishable offence in both the countries. For instance, homosexuality might be a crime in country A while it is accepted in B. The country A can not request B to extradite a person who is charged with a homosexuality-related offence.
Persons charged for political reasons are generally not extradited. Some countries refuse to extradite if the kind of expected punishment is abolished or is not administered in their own territories. For instance, Australia, Canada, Macao, Mexico, and most of the European nations refuse to extradite a criminal if the person in question might get capital punishment after his extradition.
In India, the Extradition Act, 1962 regulates the surrender of a person to another country or the request for the arrest of a person in a foreign land. The act specifies that any conduct of a person in India or in a foreign state that is mentioned in the list of extradition offence and is punishable with minimum one year of imprisonment qualifies for an extradition request. The process has to be initiated by the central government.
In the case of countries with which India does not have such a treaty, the central government can by notified order treat any convention to which India and the foreign country is a party to the extradition treaty providing for extradition with respect to the offences specified in that convention.
If the extradition request has come from two or more countries then the government has the rights to decide which of them is the fittest for the request.
In what conditions can the government deny extradition?
If the government finds the case trivial and if it thinks that the surrendering of the person is not being made in good faith or in the interests of justice or for political reasons, it can deny the request.
If the surrender according to the requesting country’s own law is barred by time then also the person cannot be extradited from India. If the government can also stop the process if it feels that the person will be charged with an offence not mentioned in the extradition treaty.
The government can put the extradition on hold if it feels that the person will be charged for a lesser offence, which is disclosed by the requesting authorities so that they can have the possession of the person.
Apart from this, if the person is serving a jail term or he/she is accused of an offence in Indian soil, which is different from the offence for which the person is wanted abroad, then also the extradition process can be stopped.
Similarly, if a fugitive criminal has committed an offence which is punishable with death in India while the laws of the foreign state do not provide death for the same offence then criminal will get life imprisonment in India also.