Extradition And Asylum


Extradition is “the legal mechanism by which a State demands that a person charged or convicted of a felony be returned to the requesting State to stand trial or complete a term in the requesting State”. Asylum is when a person, runs away for protection to another state as he/she was afraid of being prosecuted in his home state.


According to Starke, “The term extradition denotes the process whereby under the treaty or upon a basis of reciprocity, one state surrenders to another state at it requests a person accused or convicted of a criminal offence committed against the laws of the requesting state, such requesting state is competent to put the alleged offender on trial”. Extradition is necessitated when a discrete individual (criminal in nature on that State/Land) convicted or made accused of a criminal act in a territory where he is not a citizen of that State. The degree of diplomatic surrendering of such fugitives is a symbol of ‘international cooperation’ which is the centre for global peace. 

Here the convicted individual is legally handled by the appealing state as soon as he is transferred to the state where the act of crime had taken place to prevent absconding from further crime. This request from the appealing state makes it feasible for the criminal to be trialled in front of the court of law under the jurisdiction where he holds his citizenship. The responsibility of punishing him is rightfully given to the law of the requesting state.  

Globally, each state has its own law for the people and land, hence, it is vital to extradite the individual to his own country to prevent him subjecting to different laws of the different lands as each country is legally and constitutionally unique. According to Grotius “ It is the duty of each state to punish the criminals or to return them to the states where they have committed the crime”.

Imagine if you trespass and steal a mango from an alien orchard and are caught red-handed under bright daylight, you sure are subjected to punishment but the question is should the orchard owner punish you or your parents? 

Punishment from the owner would lead to a possibility of discrimination and imposal of misjudged penalisation and severe punishment in extreme situations which is quite inappropriate in terms for a mere mango robbery (crime), there is also impending chances of repetition of the same crime in a different place, but the latter allows a chance for adequate, appropriate punishment for the crime and the guilt would prevent further repetition of the wrongful act. 

This is just a simple anecdote but sure does make it easier to understand the situation of Extradition.


The word ‘asylum’ is Latin and is derived from the Greek word ‘Asylia’ which means inviolable (that which is secure from violation, cannot be infringed) place. The term refers to situations in which a territorial state refuses to hand over a person to the requesting state and provides shelter and protection in its own territory. An ‘Asylee’ is a person who seeks international asylum.

Asylum is nothing but a state or territory that provides shelter to the Asylee though he is not under the jurisdiction of that State.

But when the requesting state asks the Asylee back, can the territorial state decline in such cases?

Yes, it can decline because asylum’s hidden concept is to provide shelter to the ones seeking it. The sovereign authority can accept or reject the asylum seekers even though everyone has the right to seek for it. Usually, the refugees are provided with shelter (Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh).

As we all know there are many instances in Indian history alone where many such political leaders Asylee reside in other countries to evade taxations or legal actions. 

Imagine a situation where a kid from a shelter home who has abusive family at hometown, in such case, the activists have the right to protect the child and provide him with basic amenities. Here, though the kid belongs to his parents, he is protected by the activists to provide safety and security since he is vulnerable to such care.


Mainly on humanitarian measure or religious dependence or many other such reasons where there is a doubt of fair trials to the convict in the other State. These days it has turned into monetary pleasure and services that are exchanged in return for the asylum that the State provides. This makes it complete opposite to what extradition is.


The above-mentioned subject throws light upon the importance, need and difference between extradition and asylum their relationship and its stake in the national and international law. Though the generalisation of terms have been used to explain the subjects but there are minute differences in the statutory laws from one Country to another, So, international cooperation becomes very much necessary among such States.


Yashas J.

KLE Society’s Law College

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