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MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE REQUESTS

Central Authority in India for Mutual Legal Assistance Requestsin Criminal Matters

As per the Allocation of Business Rules of the Government of India, the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal Ministry and the Central authority for seeking and providing mutual legal assistance in criminal law matters. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) receives all such requests, examines them and takes appropriate action. (Internal Security-II (IS-II) Division handles this subject in the Ministry of Home Affairs.)

Similarly, cases pertaining tocivil and commercial matters are required to be taken up with the Ministry of Law & Justice, which finalizes and notifies treaties and arrangements with other countries as per the relevant statutory provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure.

Therefore, all requests for seeking assistance from a foreign country including the service of all kinds of judicial processes or other documents are directly submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs in criminal law matters and to the Ministry of Law & Justice in civil and commercial matters. The Ministry of External Affairs may be involved in this process when such requests are routed through diplomatic channels by these Ministries.

Serving Summons issued by an Indian Court on a Person Living Abroad

Section 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) speaks of reciprocal arrangements to be made by Central Government with the Foreign Governments with regard to the service of summons/warrants/judicial processes. Accordingly, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has entered into Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements on Criminal Matters with 39 countries which provide for serving of documents.

List of countries with operational Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties in Criminal Matters:

S.No.

Country

Year

1.

Switzerland

1989

2.

Turkey

1993

3.

United Kingdom

1995

4.

Canada

1998

5.

Kazakhstan

2000

6.

United Arab Emirates

2000

7.

Russia

2000

8.

Uzbekistan

2001

9.

Tajikistan

2003

10.

Ukraine

2003

11.

Mongolia

2004

12.

Thailand

2004

13.

Bahrain

2005

14.

France

2005

15.

South Korea

2005

16.

Singapore

2005

17.

South Africa

2005

18.

United States of America

2005

19.

Belarus

2006

20.

Mauritius

2006

21.

Kuwait

2007

22.

Spain

2007

23.

Bulgaria

2008

24.

Vietnam

2008

25.

Mexico

2009

26.

Egypt

2009

27.

Hong Kong

2009

28.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

2010

29.

Iran

2010

30.

Myanmar

2010

31.

Sri Lanka

2010

32.

Australia

2011

33.

Bangladesh

2011

34.

Indonesia

2011

35.

Malaysia

2012

36.

Azerbaijan

2013

37.

Kyrgyz Republic

2014

38.

Israel

2015

39.

Sultanate of Oman

2015

[For an updated list, please refer to the website of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI): (http://www.cbi.nic.in/interpol/mlats.php)]

In other cases, the Ministry of Home Affairs makes a request on the basis of an assurance of reciprocity to the concerned foreign government through MEA or our Mission/Embassy in that country.

The difference between the two categories of countries is that the country having an MLAT with India has an obligation to consider serving the documents, whereas the non-MLAT countries do not have any obligation to consider such a request.

For further details, consult the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs: (http://mha.nic.in/Policy-Guidelines)

Procedure to be followed for Serving (Bailable and Non-Bailable) Arrest WarrantsIssued by Indian Courts on a Person Living Abroad

The summons/warrants/judicial processes received by MHA are forwarded to the concerned Indian Mission/ Embassy, which in turn takes up the matter with the designated Central Authority in that country. In case of MLAT countries, the manner of communication is as laid down in the MLAT and can be either directly between MHA and the Central Authority or through diplomatic channels. The Designated Authority, after considering the request,directs its agency to serve the documents on the concerned person and the report of the service, if any, is also received through the same channel. This is broadly the system in most countries. However, in some countries, private companies/NGOs have also been entrusted with the service of judicial papers.

In India, all requests for service of summons/notices/judicial processes on persons residing abroad should be addressed to the Under Secretary (Legal), IS-II Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, 9thFloor, Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi – 110003.

For further details, consult the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs: (http://mha.nic.in/Policy-Guidelines)

Non-Bailable Warrants of Arrest

The Ministry of Home Affairs does not undertake service of non-bailable warrants of arrest. The service of non-bailable arrest warrants amounts to the extradition of the individual. Requests for extradition are based on legal principles and procedures contained in Extradition Treaties negotiated with the foreign country concerned. Such requests are to be forwarded in the prescribed format to the Ministry of External Affairs, CPV Division, Patiala House Annexe, Tilak Marg, New Delhi – 110001.

(As of August 2015)
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