The United Arab Emirates is a signatory of the Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial cooperation for Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco. In addition, the UAE has entered into bilateral treaties for judicial cooperation with United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, Iran, Australia, China, Egypt, Kazakhstan etc.

Similarly, India has signed extradition treaties with 43 foreign countries. It has extradition arrangements with countries such as the UAE, Antigua and Barbuda, Croatia, Fiji, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania and many others.

The UAE has issued federal law no. 39 of 2006 on the 'Mutual judicial cooperation in criminal matters' which comprises the 'Extradition law' of the UAE. In 2012, the UAE also ratified the extradition treaty facilitating the transfer of prisoners between the Gulf states and India. 

Pursuant to the extradition treaty signed between the two countries, both countries have agreed to hand over fugitives who have committed an offence to the requesting Country where the offence was committed. The bilateral treaty solidifies that both jurisdictions refuse to foster criminals and to cooperate fully in terms of extradition requests.

Specific extradition process in India with extradition treaty:

Extradition process refers to an action wherein one sovereign jurisdiction (requested State) delivers a person either acquitted or convicted of an international crime to the law enforcement of another jurisdiction (requesting State) upon their official request. Compliance with an extradition request involves transferring the physical custody of the accused person to the recognized legal authority of the requesting jurisdiction.

As stated, above India has signed extradition treaties with almost forty-three nations. The extradition process varies based on the factor as to whether there exists an extradition treaty between India and the Country making the extradition request. Therefore, if an extradition request is made by the UAE authorities to India, it will proceed as per the following steps.

An extradition process can be accepted in India once it is received by either by :

  • Direct diplomatic channels or
  • Red notice by Interpol

The steps and measures taken for extradition when there exists a specific extradition treaty between India and the requesting nations will be as:

  • Receipt of warrant: a warrant for arrest is issued by the requesting state as per the extradition treaty with India. 
  • Endorsement of warrant: the central government shall proceed to endorse the warrant. Once this measure is completed, the fugitive can be arrested. 
  • The arrested fugitive is then presented before the magistrate court, and the magistrate will confirm the arrest and will notify the central government. The fugitive will be detained in prison pending further orders from the central government. 
  • The final steps will be taken by the central government to deliver the fugitive to the authorities of the requesting state.

Pursuant to the agreement signed in 2011 between the UAE and India for the 'transfer of sentenced prisoners, both the countries allow for the sentences prisoners to be transported to their home country for their imprisonment term. However, these provisions do not apply when the crime in question pertains to heinous crimes of murder, drug abuse, financial fraud etc.

The conditions that must be met in order for a sentenced criminal to be transferred from the UAE to India or Vice versa:

  • A minimum imprisonment term of at least six months should be pending.
  • A final conviction should have been awarded against the person, and no other cases should be existing against the said person.
  • The request for transfer is confirmed by both the UAE and India.

Exceptions to extradition requests:

Both India and UAE do not allow extradition requests for their nationals. However, in such instances the accused can still be tried in one jurisdiction based on the case instituted in the other. With the recent changes imparted in the extend of judicial cooperation between both the countries in 2020, India now accepts direct execution of the final judgment issued by a UAE civil court in relating to civil or financial matters.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.