Note: This story was first published in December 2018 after Mallya lost his extradition hearing at the magistrate court level. It is being republished in light of his appeal being dismissed also at the High Court level on April 20, 2020 (Monday).
New Delhi: The ruling of the Westminister Magistrates’ Court to extradite fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya is a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government.
However, while Mallya has not yet announced his next course of action, UK law allows him to deploy few more legal steps to avoid return to India.
As per UK’s 2003 extradition act, India is a ‘Category 2’ country, which require assent for extradition from both the judiciary and the secretary of state for the home department (Sajid Javid).
Once a court decides that a person can be extradited, the secretary of state has to order extradition within two months, though extensions can be sought from the high court.
If the secretary of state does not take a decision within two months, the person could be discharged.
If there is no appeal, Mallya has to be extradited within 28 days of the secretary of state’s decision.
Mallya can only appeal after he has taken permission from the High Court within two weeks. But, the appeal hearing will only be scheduled by High Court after the Secretary of State orders the extradition.
The home secretary does not have much political discretion in extradition matters.
As per law, he can refuse extradition only if the requested person faces death penalty, there is no “speciality arrangement” with the requesting country and the person has already been extradited to a third party.
If none of these three prohibitions apply, the secretary of state has to compulsorily order extradition.
The requested person can only appeal against the secretary of state’s extradition order. But both the appeals – against the lower court decision and against the secretary of state – will heard at the same time by the High Court after it grants permission.
The last stage is the Supreme Court. However, as per British statute, appeals to Supreme court would require a certification from High Court that the case involves a point of law of public importance.