Sanjeev Chawla case: India submits assurance on Tihar jail conditions

Last month, the High Court stayed India’s appeal against Westminster Magistrates’ Court’s refusal to extradite Mr Chawla. The High Court requested details of the facilities available in Tahir jail, the jail where Mr Chawla would likely be imprisoned if he were to be extradited to India.

Mr Chawla’s extradition was requested in connection with his alleged role in match-fixing during South Africa’s tour of India in 2000. If he is extradited to India, and imprisoned in Tahir jail, the Home Ministry of India has explained that he will have access to his own toilet facilities and guaranteed medical treatment. The assurance also detailed the ways in which he will be protected from violence within the jail.
This is the third assurance given to the High Court by India in this case. It hopes to alleviate the concern of the High Court judges that Mr Chawla faces a real risk of his human rights being breached due to the conditions within Tahir jail. The previous two assurances were deemed ‘inadequate’ by the High Court.

It is not unusual for the UK courts to request assurances from India in relation to extradition cases. If Mr Chawla is successfully extradited to India, this will be the first contested extradition case from the UK to India to succeed since India and the UK entered an extradition treaty in 1992.

India granted leave to appeal in unsuccessful UK extradition request for Sanjeev Chawla

India has been granted leave to appeal its unsuccessful UK extradition request for Sanjeev Kumar Chawla, a bookmaker wanted on suspicion of match fixing during South Africa’s tour of India in 2000.

The first instance court found that there were strong grounds for believing that Mr Chawla’s human rights would be violated if he was extradited to India “due to overcrowding, lack of medical provision, and risk of being subjected to torture and violence from other inmates or prison staff” in the Tihar prison complex where he would be held. The Court said that “the monitoring systems which exist in India are not effective in practice” and noted that there is also no independent international monitoring of its prisons.

Acting on India’s behalf, the Crown Prosecution Service argues in its appeal that the Court failed to take assurances from India’s government on the conditions in Tihar jail into account.