The Delhi High Court has ruled that a convicted person's temporary release on bail would not be adequate to justify extradition as long as he is a defendant in criminal cases in India (Milen Ivanov Davranski vs UOI).
A single judge, Justice Prathiba M Singh, ruled in this direction when hearing an extradition request from a Bulgarian resident.
The complainant, who is currently imprisoned in India, requested that the Indian government take measures to expedite his extradition to his homeland.
The plaintiff claimed, among other things, that Section 24 of the Extradition Act, 1962 was exceptionally specific in stating that when a person is allowed to be extradited after an investigation under Section 5 by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, the person is allowed to be extradited.
In cases other than those for which extradition is requested, the Central government relied on Section 31(1)(d) to note that unless and unless the individual has been given a form of discharge, i.e. he has been convicted or his term has expired, he cannot be discharged or move in accordance with the extradition order.
According to the Centre, the Petitioner was named in three FIRs in the state of Goa, all of which were unrelated to the crime under investigation in extradition proceedings.
Extradition is both an administrative and a judicial act, according to the Court, with the latter sandwiched between the former.
It went on to say that extradition entailed the handing over of a fugitive to a foreign country by the country in which the fugitive is actually living, not the release of an accused fugitive into freedom and granting of liberty.
After reviewing the Extradition Treaty between the Republics of India and Bulgaria, the Court determined that an extradition request must be accepted by the Indian government regardless of the status of any other criminal proceedings in the country.
The court added that once extradition was granted, the surrender could be delayed until the judicial proceedings in India were concluded, or until the sentencing, if any, was completed, under Article 11(2) of the Treaty.
According to the Court, the best outcome under the current circumstances will be to temporarily extradite the individual to the requesting state, according to certain provisions and a joint understanding between the Government of India and the Republic of Bulgaria.
Furthermore, in light of Section 31(1)(d), the Court stated that the surrender could not be processed until and until the criminal proceedings against the individual had reached a conclusion, either by an acquittal or the completion of the whole sentence.
The Court noted that, based on the statute and the fact that three FIRs were already pending, it was apparent that the criminal charges against him had not ended and that he had not been conclusively released, and that he could not be extradited.
The petition was, therefore, dismissed.