India, Chile bound by extradition treaty, says SC

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said that there was a binding extradition treaty between India and Chile as it dismissed a plea by French national Marie-Emmanue Vehroeven challenging the proceedings for her extradition to the south American country.

“On the basis of the material before us, we hold that there is a binding extradition treaty between India and Chile and that the provisions of the Extradition Act, 1962 are applicable to the Republic of Chile in respect of the offences specified in the Extradition Treaty,” said a bench of Justice Madan B.Lokur and Justice N.V.Ramana in their judgment.

The court said this as it rejected plea by Vehroeven, accused of murdering Chilean senator Jamia Guzmann in 1991, challenging the British-era extradition treaty between India and Chile.

Rejecting the plea by Vehroeven, challenging the extradition proceedings and noting the same were pending before the court of the additional chief metropolitan magistrate here, Justice Lokur, pronouncing the judgment, said: “We make it clear that we have not pronounced on the merits of the controversy pending before him and have confined our consideration only to the existence or otherwise of the extradition treaty between India and Chile.”

Saying that the magistrate’s court “should decide on the extradition of the petitioner on the merits of the case and the evidence before him” and any observations “incidentally made by us on the merits of the extradition requisition” would not bind the magistrate in deciding the matter.

Vehroeven, a psychologist by profession, is a devotee of Lord Buddha and was on her third pilgrimage to India to travel to different Buddhist places, when she was arrested on February 17 after she entered India from Nepal, in pursuance to Red Corner Notice (RCN) issued by Interpol, which was subsequently withdrawn on May 30, 2015.

She was rearrested on February 24, 2015 as a requirement under the Extradition Act, 1962, but this was quashed by Delhi High court by its September 21 order.

In the wake of the high court order, she was again arrested on September 22 after Chilean embassy had on September 21 urged the Indian government not to release her and some arrangement would be worked out for her extradition.

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