High Court Upholds Specialty Principle in Extradition Case: Analysis of Sanjay Bhandari v Government of India & Anor

Citation: [2024] EWHC 612 (Admin)
Judgment on


In the case of Sanjay Bhandari v Government of India & Anor [2024] EWHC 612 (Admin), the High Court of Justice in the King’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, has rendered a decision regarding an extradition request made by the Government of India. The central theme of this case revolves around the legal principles of extradition under the Extradition Act 2003, particularly focusing on the concept of “specialty”, as well as the application of European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) points. This analysis delves into the key topics discussed, elucidating the applied legal principles and their pertinence to the extradition process.

Key Facts

Mr. Sanjay Bhandari, an Indian businessman involved in the defence industry, is the subject of extradition requests by the Indian government, alleging offences of money laundering and tax-related crimes. The Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) ordered Mr. Bhandari’s extradition in accordance with the Extradition Act 2003. The Applicant sought permission to appeal against the judge’s and the SSHD’s decision, with the High Court granting permission on certain ECHR grounds and rejecting others, including on specialty grounds (Ground 8). The Applicant renewed his application in respect of the rejected grounds, which was considered by Mr. Justice Saini.

The principle underpinning the Applicant’s case is the rule of “specialty,” which is enshrined in section 95 of the Extradition Act 2003 and reflected in the extradition treaty between the UK and India. This principle ensures that an extradited person is not prosecuted for offences other than those for which extradition is granted, except under certain specified conditions.

The legal framework of the 2003 Act and the Treaty delineates specifications for offences (extradition offences and lesser offences) and conditions under which an extradited individual may be prosecuted. It assumes that the requesting state (India) will act in good faith and honor its treaty obligations, a presumption that courts have historically upheld in cases such as Patel v India [2013] and similarly in Mallya v Government of India [2019].

In this case, the Applicant’s argument hinges on the concern that there is a risk of being prosecuted in India for offences falling outside the extradition request. The Applicant’s attempt to differentiate between the Act and the Treaty, particularly highlighting the phrase in the Treaty regarding “lesser offence(s) disclosed by the facts proved for the purpose of securing his surrender,” was noted but dismissed based on established case law that found near perfect symmetry in specialty provisions between UK domestic law and Indian law.


The Applicant’s requested permission to appeal on specialty grounds (Ground 8) was denied by Mr. Justice Saini. The Court determined that effective specialty arrangements are in place between the UK and India, as repeatedly upheld in earlier case law, including Shankaran v India [2014], Chawla v India [2018], and the Mallya case.

It was noted by the Court that Patel and subsequent decisions have not found compelling evidence to suggest the Government of India would act contrary to its treaty obligations. No recent changes in the practices of Indian Courts nor evidence of actual breaches of specialty following extradition were presented by the Applicant that could motivate a different conclusion.

The Court affirmed that the mention of multiple investigations within the extradition request did not equate to a breach of specialty, reiterating the Divisional Court’s position in Mallya that an Indian Court would need to contravene India’s Treaty obligations to proceed with such offences, which is not anticipated.


The case law analysis of Sanjay Bhandari v Government of India & Anor demonstrates the Court’s reliance on established principles of specialty in extradition law and the presumption of compliance with treaty obligations by the requesting state. The High Court upheld the decisions made by the SSHD and the prior judge, reflecting confidence in the existing extradition framework and the reciprocal legal obligations between the UK and India. It reiterated the necessity for applicants to provide compelling evidence of systematic violations of specialty obligations to successfully challenge an extradition order on those grounds. The analysis presents a clear message to legal professionals that the threshold for overturning extradition orders, especially on specialty grounds, is significant and requires robust, specific evidence of potential treaty breaches.