The Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with the proceedings initiated for the extradition of a Portuguese national of Indian origin for a rape case against him in London, saying that mere unsubstantiated apprehension of discrimination on account of his race cannot be held to be a sufficient reason to mistrust the state functionaries of the United Kingdom.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh stated that the petitioner, who invoked Article 9 of the applicable treaty which provides relief if the prosecution is on account of the person’s race, religion, nationality, or political opinions, has not provided any substantial proof to suggest any discrimination.
There is no justiciable proof of the petitioner being arraigned due to racial discrimination or the case being racially motivated, the judge said.
The court dismissed the petitioner’s plea seeking to make full disclosure of the evidence collected during the investigation and opined that the petitioner has been escaping arrest on frivolous grounds and the present petition is one such attempt.
“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. Accordingly, there appears no reason to intervene with proceedings and pass any such order for disclosure of additional information or evidence,” the court said in its order dated May 11.
“Accordingly, in order for Article 9 to be deemed applicable, the petitioner must reasonably “satisfy” the Court that the request for his extradition has been made for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his race. However, the petitioner has not provided any substantial proof on record to suggest any discrimination that might be applicable against him in the United Kingdom,” it added.
The judge further said that the requisite evidence for extradition proceedings against the petitioner has already been supplied and only a prima facie case is to be seen by the trial court in the course of extradition proceedings.
“The petitioner will get adequate opportunity to represent himself, ask for disclosure of evidence, as well as cross-examine the same at the stage of the trial. Thus, it is clear that no violation of the duty to adequate disclosure can be said to have occurred in the present case,” the court stated.
The petitioner, who allegedly committed rape of a lady at a pub in London in May 2017 and came back to India in June of the same year, has been charged with the offence of rape under Section 1(1) of the Sexual Offences Act, 2003 of UK and arrest warrant was issued.
In September 2020, the central government ordered a magisterial inquiry under the Extradition Act upon receipt of a request from the UK and in March 2021, extradition proceedings were initiated against the petitioner in the court of an additional chief metropolitan.
The petitioner argued before the high court that the evidence produced or information supplied in the present case is not sufficient to decide the extradition request and that the case against him is false and racially motivated.
The petitioner, in his plea before the court, claimed that he did not receive humongous amounts of documentary evidence, medical evidence, forensic evidence, CCTV footage, audio recordings of the interviews taken by the UK Police, details of calls made to the UK Police, formal police complaint, and record of seizure of articles, etc.
The central government argued that the petitioner is a fugitive criminal and the present case is extraditable in terms of the Extradition Treaty.PTI ADS RKS RKS
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