Courts not bound by Govt assurances to foreign nations : Home Sec

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Courts not bound by Govt assurances to foreign nations : Home Sec

New Delhi : With the fate of gangster Abu Salem hanging in balance, union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla in the Supreme Court states that Indian courts are not bound by assurances given by the Government to foreign nations, effectively crushing hopes of the gangster extradited from Portugal expecting to be released in eight years.

Bhalla in the Supreme Court, on a plea in the apex court, clarified that the courts of the country are not bound by the assurance given by the Government of India to Portugal and the courts can give their decision according to the law.

The home secretary also said that Salem's extradition took place in 2005, time to consider his release will come in 2030 and the government will decide then. Bhalla said that the Supreme Court should not consider the petition of Abu Salem. On April 12, the Supreme Court had objected to the union Home Secretary not filing a reply on the petition of Abu Salem.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had said that the Government of India had assured Portugal that Salem would not be sentenced to more than 25 years and that this assurance did not apply to any court. The Supreme Court had stated that such an approach would create a problem in the extradition process in future.

To extradite gangster Abu Salem, New Delhi had assured Portugal government there that in any case related to the gangster, the sentence would not exceed 25 years. But Mumbai's TADA court has given life imprisonment.

On February 2, Supreme Court had directed the Central Government to file a reply on both the undertakings given by the Central Government to the Portuguese Government, during the extradition of Abu Salem and when its custody should be considered.

During the hearing, Rishi Malhotra, on behalf of Abu Salem, had said that Government of India?s assurance should be considered.