Extradition Cases: When does petitioner’s concern of lack of disclosure of evidence require court’s intervention? Del HC discusses

Delhi High Court: Chandra Dhari Singh, J., while addressing a matter, expressed that,

Under Principles of Natural Justice, it is settled law that (a) where at the stage where an authority is merely required to form an opinion as to whether an enquiry should be held into allegations or contraventions, it is not required to give to the notice details of nature of evidence and documents, and (b) where a hearing for determination of guilt is to be held de novo, without any reference to any preliminary enquiry report, then the report need not be disclosed to the party affected.

Petitioner approached the Court praying for mandamus to the respondents to make full disclosure of the evidence collected during investigation of the crime of rape registered against the petitioner in London.

Question for Consideration


Whether petitioner is entitled to disclosure of evidence qua the extradition proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India?

Analysis, Law and Decision


Extradition is a formal process by which one state requests another to deliver/handover an individual accused of having committed an offence for the purposes of trial or prosecution in the requesting state. Extraditable persons may include those charged with a crime but not yet tried, those tried and convicted who have escaped custody, and those convicted in absentia.

High Court expressed that, an essential condition that is mandatory for the process of initiating extradition is that those crimes of which an individual is accused of, must be punishable by law in the requesting state and be committed outside the state of the offender. Along with this, the necessity is that two countries have entered into the Extradition Treaty.

In the instant case, the evidence envisaged under Section 10 of the Extradition Act was produced before the Magistrate for inquiry into extradition proceedings. Court has to arrive at a conclusion where there is prima facie evidence that an extraditable offence may have been committed.

Further, the Court stated that, there is ample jurisprudence to suggest that the scope of inquiry of this Court should be limited unless there are exceptional circumstances, as was held in Pragnesh Desai v. Union of India, 2004 SCC OnLine Del 68.

Hence, the only circumstances where the petitioner’s concern of ‘lack of disclosure of evidence’ would require an intervention from this Court would be if such alleged lack of disclosure amounts to a violation of the Principles of Natural Justice, which was not the case in the present circumstances.

Bench found no violation of the duty to adequate disclosure in the present case.

“…within the domestic law, whereas the courts recognize and act against the presence of “actual bias‟ as a Principle of Natural Justice, “a mere apprehension of bias” is not enough to claim relief by the parties.”

High Court added to its observation that,

A mere unsubstantiated apprehension of discrimination or bias cannot be held to be a sufficient reason to mistrust the state functionaries of the United Kingdom, hence, a case for claiming relief under Article 9 of the Treaty is not made out.

Court also noted that the petitioner had been escaping arrest on frivolous grounds and the present petition was one such attempt.

Conclusion


  • the petitioner has been evading the process of law
  • requisite evidence for extradition proceedings against the petitioner has already been supplied
  • only a prima facie case is to be seen by the ACMM in the course of extradition proceedings
  • no case of violation of scheme or provisions of the Extradition Act or Treaty has been made out
  • there is also no justiciable proof of the petitioner being arraigned due to racial discrimination

Hence, in view of the above writ petition was dismissed. [Jose Inacio Cota v. Union of India, WP (Crl) 394 of 2022, decided on 11-5-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the petitioner:

Arpit Batra and Abhilasha, Advocates

For the respondent:

Rekha Pandey, SPP for UOI

Nishi Raman, CGSC for R-2

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