Dowry Law 'Blackmail' Extradition Request Rejected: No Dual Criminality

A request by the Indian Government for the extradition of a man, represented by the Lansbury Worthington's Extradition Team led by Giovanna Fiorention, for an alleged offence of blackmail has been rejected.

The conduct related to alleged dowry law offences in India, which was certified in the UK as an offence of blackmail. The man, who lives and works in the UK, was alleged to have threatened to divorce his wife unless she paid him an additional dowry of £10,000.

The defence raised multiple challenges to the request, including dual criminality and prima facie case; it was argued that the conduct would not amount to a criminal offence under the law of England and Wales and the evidence was insufficient to establish a case to answer.

The conduct was linked with Indian marital law which was introduced in response to documented cases of the abuse of women and their families, who faced ever increasing dowry demands. Some women were driven to suicide and other acts of serious self-harm. In response, the Indian government outlawed both the payment and receipt of dowries. However, the Indian Supreme Court acknowledged in 2017 that, in setting the threshold so low for complaints to be made and acted upon, there had been a proliferation of false cases which resulted in numerous arrests and the abuse of the court system.

Central to the defence case was a taped telephone call with the man’s former father-in-law, a senior lawyer who admitted that the alleged dowry demand was false. The Indian government failed to respond to this evidence, despite having months to do so.

Moreover, INTERPOL has for some time refused to issue Red Notices for dowry-law-related matters, which reflects the concerns over the lack of criminality of these issues, as opposed to Indian cultural mores.

Since the Court rejected the request on dual criminality and prima facie case grounds, the other issues raised – poor prison conditions, corruption and unfair trial – were not addressed in the court’s judgment.

In India v SJ Malcolm Hawkes of Doughty Street Chambers was the instructed Counsel.


How we can assist

The law concerning requests for extradition can be complicated. At Lansbury Worthington we have an experienced team of lawyers who work along side some of the best extradition barristers in the country.

If you have any concerns or simply want to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact our specialist Extradition Team or Giovanna Fiorention on 0208 563 9797 or by email