Delhi, March 21 (IANS) The Union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday approved signing of an extradition treaty between India and Belgium. The treaty would provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from and to Belgium.
After ratification, the treaty will come into force from the date of exchange of instruments of ratification between India and Belgium.
The new treaty will replace the pre-Independence extradition treaty between Great Britain and Belgium that was made applicable to India through the exchange of letters in 1958 and is currently in force between India and Belgium.
Under the new treaty, each party will agree to extradite any person found in its territory accused or convicted of an extraditable offence in the territory of the other party.
An extraditable offence means an offence punishable under the laws of both the parties with imprisonment for a period of one year or more severe punishment.
Under the treaty, when extradition of a convicted person is sought, the duration of the sentence remaining to be served must be at least six months at the time of making the request.
Offences relating to taxation or revenue or one of a fiscal character also fall within the scope of this treaty. The extradition can be refused if the offence is a political or military offence. It, however, specifies certain offences which will not be considered as political offences.
The request will not be entertained if it is for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing the person on account of his race, sex, religion, nationality or political opinion.
Extradition of nationals is discretionary. The nationality will be determined at the time the offence was committed.