The two nations first signed the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for criminal matters in September 2019.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday notified rules for the Indian courts to serve summons to accused persons in the Maldives, as per an agreement signed between the two countries.
The Ministry on Friday notified rules prescribing the format under which Indian courts could send summons or search warrants to any accused in the Maldives wanted by the Indian police or any Central investigating agency here.
National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval was in Sri Lanka on November 28 to attend the 4th NSA-level trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation meeting with Sri Lanka and the Maldives. He held a bilateral meeting with Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi. The arrangement on court summons between the two countries is understood to have been reached in Colombo. However, no official statement was issued after the meeting.
The rules state, “Whereas arrangements have been made by the Central Government with the Government of the Republic of the Maldives for service or execution of summons or search warrant in relation to criminal matters, on any person in the Republic of Maldives,” adding that all such summons should be routed through the MHA.
It also said that such summons, warrants, documents or things received from a court in the Maldives should also be forwarded to the MHA.
“Now, therefore, in pursuance of the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 105 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), the Central Government hereby specifies that in a case where a Court in India executes any summons or search warrant received from a Court, Judge or Magistrate in the Government of the Republic of Maldives, having authority under the law for the time being in force in that country, the documents or things produced or things found in the search shall be forwarded to the Court issuing such summons or search-warrant through IS-II Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi,” the notification said.
As per the agreement, “all Courts, Judges or Magistrates exercising jurisdiction in the Republic of Maldives” can issue commissions calling for the examination of witnesses residing in India.
India and the Maldives for the first time signed the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) for criminal matters on September 3, 2019. India has signed such a treaty/arrangement with 42 other countries. An MLAT is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public laws or criminal laws.
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