Monday, October 2, 2023

Diplomacy widens the scope of extradition

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India Legal Bureau

With criminals jumping ship to escape the long arm of the law at home, the 1969 Supreme Court ruling in State of West Bengal vs Jugal Kishore More and Anr gains importance. In this case, the accused, Jugal Kishore More, was convicted for criminal conspiracy in foreign exchange violation.

The accused had an address in Hong Kong where he fled to after committing the offense. He was later extradited from Hong Kong for trial.

However, he challenged his extradition on the basis that it was “without authority in the absence of a notified order Under Section 3 of the Extradition Act, 1962” which could have added Hong Kong to the list of countries to which the Act was applicable.

The Calcutta High Court had quashed the extradition.

However, the verdict was overruled by the Supreme Court, which stated: “But that did not, in our judgment, operate as a bar to the requisition made by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, if they were able to persuade the Colonial Secretary, Hong Kong, to deliver More for trial in this country. If the Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong was willing to hand over More for trial in this country, it cannot be said that the warrant issued by the Chief Presidency Magistrate for the arrest of More with the aid of which requisition for securing his presence from Hong Kong was to be made, was illegal.”

The court observed that extradition “is founded on the broad principle that it is in the interest of civilized communities that crimes should not go unpunished, and on that account it is recognised as a part of the comity of nations that one State should ordinarily afford to another State assistance towards bringing offenders to justice”.

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