Tahawwur Rana extradition

Tahawwur Rana extradition


Delay in extradition of Tahawwur Rana, a key accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Important Facts:

  • Rana, was arrested in 2009, for providing material support to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which planned and executed the attacks and currently serving a 14-year prison term in the U.S.
  • Under India-U.S. Extradition Treaty of 1997 Government of India is currently engaged with U.S and demanding extradition of Tahawwur Rana once he completes his jail sentence.

Challenge involved in extradition of Tahawwur Rana case:

  • The ‘double jeopardy’ clause in U.S. law prohibits punishment for the same crime twice.
  • To counter this clause India, seek Rana’s custody on the ground that he was actively involved in planning an attack on the National Defence College in Delhi and Chabad Houses (Jewish religious centers) in several cities.
  • The National Investigation Agency of India has also registered a forgery case against Rana for opening the immigration centre based on fake documents.

What is Extradition.

  • The action of surrendering/handing over a fugitive (a person who has escaped from being confined/accused of crime) from one jurisdiction to another by mutual agreements between the two countries. deportation, handover, expulsion.
  • Extradition, therefore, is a means to resolve two apparently conflicting principles – first being that – criminal jurisdiction extends only to offences committed within geographical boundaries; Secondly, that criminal going unpunished on account of jurisdictional reasons.

Extradition Treaty:

  • Extradition treaty, means ‘a treaty, agreement, or arrangement with a foreign state relating to extradition of fugitive criminals’. An extradition treaty also spells out the conditions precedent for an extradition. It also includes a list of crimes which are extraditable.
  • Extradition treaties are traditionally bilateral in character.
  • It is important to note that even in absence of a treaty, extradition may be permitted if it has the backing of the principle of reciprocity.

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.
  • According to the act, any conduct by a person in India or elsewhere mentioned in a list of extradition offences punishable with a minimum one year of imprisonment qualifies for an extradition request.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs (“MEA”) is the nodal ministry through which all extradition requests are sent by the Indian Government to other countries for extradition of fugitive criminals

Extradition arrangement in India with countries

  • 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.
  • Central Government may treat any convention to which India and a foreign state are parties, as an Extradition Treaty. The convention so made will have the list of specified crimes.

Other Challenges:

  • Extradition is usually not granted for “political offences”; for nationals of the requested country; offences where death penalty may be imposed or where there could be actual or potential discrimination on account of religion, race and nationality.
  • The “double jeopardy” clause, which debars punishment for the same crime twice, is the primary reason why India, for example, has been unable to extradite David Headley as well from the US.
  • On the grounds of misbehavior by police officials, improper or fabricated documents, and incorrect format of affidavits and certificates extradition may be denied.
  • Human rights violations, such as torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment may impinge upon the extradition proceedings.
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