In the International law, a country doesn’t have any obligation to surrender a criminal to another country. However, these countries have developed a mechanism called extradition to help each other by entering into bilateral treaties and agreements. Extradition is the surrender of a fugitive to the state in whose territory the alleged offence is committed.
The Extradition treaty between the Government of the Republic of India and the United Arab Emirates was signed at New Delhi, India on 25th October, 1999 and ratified in Abu Dabhi, United Arab Emirates on 29th May 2000. Under the treaty, the contracting States shall extradite any person found in their respective territory who is accused of an extradite offence in the territory of the other contracting State in accordance with the rules and conditions agreed upon.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) brought Deepak Talwar to India on allegations that he acted as middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines causing the loss to national carrier Air India. He is accused of criminal conspiracy and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and under various other sections of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore of foreign funds received by his NGO from a missile manufacturing company.
However Talwar’s plea was that his arrest and custody by ED was “illegal” and alleged that his fundamental rights are being violated. He contended that he was illegally picked up from UAE and was brought to India without initiating any extradition proceedings despite the fact that there exists an extradition treaty between India and UAE.
Who can be extradited as per the Treaty?
It is mentioned in the Article 2 of the India – UAE Extradition Treaty as follows:
a.) Persons accused of an offence punishable under the laws of both the contracting States by imprisonment for a period of at least one year or more.
b.) Persons sentenced by the Courts of requesting State with imprisonment for at least six months in respect of an extradite offence.
So, the crime should fulfil the criterion of dual criminality i.e. it should a punishable offence under both the countries. As per the extradition treaty, Deepak Talwar is punishable under the laws of UAE as it has approved by an anti-money laundering law fulfilling the criterion of dual criminality.
Are Deepak Talwar’s rights violated?
There are few International conventions on Human Rights which have been invoked to stop extradition from proceeding. These are added to give legitimacy and institutionalisation to the extradition system. However, these are subjected to limitation in the interests of national security and public safety, so these limits must be weighed in a balancing of priority against these rights. Usually the cases where extradition is sought involve serious offences. In this case, the issue is clearly of national security and a serious offence. So, as far as extradition laws, Deeepak Talwar’s is brought for investigation purposes. However, the act of detention is concerned, ED as a law enforcement agency has the responsibility of enforcing economic laws. So, the detention is subject to the evidences it has, the process it has followed, the extradition treaty and the procedure thereby.
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