Supreme Court will hear extradition case for two B.C. people charged in India

Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu
Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu
Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu

The Canadian Press
Ottawa: The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a Crown appeal in the extradition case of a mother and uncle accused in connection with a so-called honour killing in India.

Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu was stabbed to death in Punjab in June 2000; her mother, Malkit Kaur Sidhu, and uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha, are accused of murder and conspiracy in India.

In 2014, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ordered them committed for extradition to India to face the charges, prompting then-justice minister Peter MacKay to issue a surrender order.

In court, the Crown alleged the pair orchestrated the murder because Sidhu had married a poor rickshaw driver in India, rather than the wealthy older man they preferred. Four men have already been convicted of murder in India in the case.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and  Surjit Singh Badesha
Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha

Sidhu and Badesha appealed the extradition, raising a number of grounds, including that they might be tortured or neglected in Indian jails.

In a split ruling in February, The British Columbia Court of Appeal set aside the minister’s order.

“In my view, there is a valid basis for concern that the applicants will be subjected to violence, torture and/or neglect if surrendered,” Justice Ian Donald said in his reasons for judgment.

The judge concluded that the minister’s decision to accept assurances from India that the health and safety of the accused would be protected was not reasonable.

“The minister cannot give effect to his surrender orders by sending the applicants to India until he receives assurances that are meaningful and likely to be effective.”

As usual, the high court gave no reasons for agreeing to hear the case.