International Law on “Extradition and Asylum” - Daily Current Affair Article


The Court of Britain has approved the extradition of Vijay Mallya to India but the extradition has not been done yet.

Introduction :-

  • Vijay Mallya, the owner of Kingfisher, owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to 17 Indian banks. Instead of paying this amount, he left India and fled to Britain on 2 March 2016. The amount of this fraud is related to the Indian public, so the Indian agencies filed an appeal for the extradition of Vijay Mallya from the UK.
  • After a long legal battle, the UK court has accepted Mallya's appeal for extradition to India. India's agencies, under the leadership of the State Bank of India, were the litigants in Mallya's legal process in Britain. So far Britain has not handed Vijay Mallya to India.

What is Extradition?

  • Extradition is a process under which a state, under a treaty or ambiguous practice, surrenders a person to another state (nation) on the other state (nation) who, under the territory of the requesting state, or so a crime has been committed or a crime has been punished according to the legal process of that nation and the so-called nation is capable of prosecuting that criminal.
  • Extradition in international system is mainly based on bilateral treaties. A universal rule has not been formed on this. Since ancient times, states (nations) have always considered it their right to give shelter to foreigners. Therefore, extradition is governed by the interrelation of two states (nations). Therefore, there is no universal rule relating to the practices of international law by which the states are liable for extradition.

The necessary condition for extradition

  • Extradition should not be made on political offenders, military crimes, religious crimes. But there is a difference of opinion among different states in the definition of political crime.
  • In extradition, the "rule of specialty" applies. According to this rule, the extradition of the offender is for a particular offense, so that country can pursue the same case against the offender for which he is extradited.
  • The "Rule of Double Criminalization" in extradition also applies. According to this rule, the offense for which extradition takes place must be declared an offense in both the countries concerned (extraditor and extradition seeker).
  • All the conditions and rules written in the extradition treaty are often followed till the offender is extradited. And extradition requires formal prayer.
  • When a person is accused of committing a crime in a foreign country and the concerned foreign country seeks his extradition, the accused is not necessarily present in that foreign country at the time of the crime.

Extradition law in India

  • Section 2 (d) of the Extradition Act 1962 defines an extradition treaty as a treaty, agreement, or arrangement made by India with a foreign state relating to the extradition of fugitive offenders and any treaty related to any treaty, agreement, or arrangement, involves compromise or arrangement.

Famous extradition cases of India

Savarkar Case-1911

  • B.D. Savarkar was an Indian revolutionary who was being brought to India by a vessel, a case was to be tried against him for promoting treason and crime in the court of British India. Savarkar escaped from the ship but was caught by the French police. The captain of the French ship handed him over to the captain of the British ship. After this, the French government asked the British government to return Savarkar
  • Because extradition-related rules have not been properly followed in this case. And the case went to the Hague Court where a verdict was given in favor of Britain. The then law experts criticized it.

Dharma Teja Case 1972-

  • Dharam Teja was the director of a shipping company who took refuge in the Ivory Coast by embezzling crores of rupees. Ivory Coast refused to return Dharma Teja due to a non-extradition treaty between India and Ivory Coast.
  • Later Dharma Teja went to London and was brought to India in 1972 where he was sentenced.

India - UK Extradition Treaty

  • Extradition treaty was signed between India and Britain in 1993.
  • India gave a list of nearly 131 people for extradition.
  • Britain has not sent a single criminal to India since 1993.

Definition of Asylum

  • Asylum means protection or active protection. This Asylum is given to political refugees. In the international system, all states agree to give Asylum and not to extradite the political refugee, but there is a wide variation in the definitions of political crime.
  • According to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every aggrieved person has the right to seek asylum in another country.

Type of Asylum: -

Generally, there are two types of Asylum.

  1. Territorial Asylum - The refugee in the Territorial Shelter lies within the geographical boundary of the asylum state such as the shelter given by India to the Dalai Lama.
  2. External Territorial Asylum - Refugees in external territorial asylum lie within the political boundary of the asylum state, such as foreign envoys, merchant ships, international institutions.

Rights of Asylum

  • Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives every aggrieved person the right of Asylum in other countries (but it is not necessary that when a person seeks shelter, he or she will be given shelter).
  • A United Nations Declaration on Territorial or Territorial Asylum, 1967 was unanimously accepted. According to this, states should keep a check on the actions of such oppressed persons who seek shelter at the border, such as rejection of shelter, etc. But this declaration cannot be called binding.
  • But on 14 December 1967, the United Nations General Assembly said in the resolution that states should take care of the following points in terms of shelter -
  • When a person asks for shelter, it should not be denied or when a person enters the border of the state seeking asylum, it should not be removed (but it can be removed based on national security and public safety).
  • If a state is uncomfortable giving shelter, then appropriate measures should be considered in the sense of international unity through individual states or the United Nations.
  • If a state gives shelter to a victim, then other states should respect it.

The conclusion

  • Giving asylum to a political criminal is the sovereign right of a state and it is enforced through various treaties and practices. According to international relations, it is necessary to give shelter to a political refugee, but concerning economic fugitives, a universal extradition treaty needs to be accepted so that economic sovereignty can be ensured.
  • The British court has made a positive start by taking the decision related to sending Vijay Mallya to India, now it is necessary that by implementing this decision soon, examples should be set for countries to protect other economic sovereignty.
General Studies Paper 2
  • International Relations
  • Bilateral, regional and global groups and agreements related to India and/or affecting India's interests.

Mains Question:-

  • What do you understand by extradition and shelter? Discuss the major international laws related to them?