NEW DELHI: The Union Government has distanced itself from the stance adopted in the Supreme Court by Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal in the case relating to the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian Marines onboard the vessel, Enrica Lexie off the Kerala coast.
On Friday, Italy had moved the apex court seeking the release of the Rome-flagged vessel, which had been confiscated by the Kerala government as part of the case against the two Italian marines.
However, in a surprising move, Rawal told the court that the case was beyond India’s jurisdiction as the crime had taken place in international waters.
This was a startling stance taken by the senior government counsel which was diametrically opposed to the consistent position taken by the Centre since the incident in February.
The ensuing confusion resulted in government officials scrambling for hours to come up with a coherent clarification.
And the Centre made its unambiguously clear in the Supreme Court that it was the ASG’s personal opinion and did not represent the views of the government
Mounting a robust defence on the Centre’s behalf, Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is on a visit to Spain, said ASG Rawal had made the statement “in his personal capacity.” “There is no change in position of the Indian government that Indian jurisdiction is applicable in this case,” he said, adding that there was “no difference between the Centre and the state on the matter.”
The Shipping Ministry echoed the Centre and sought to distance itself from the senior government lawyer’s position in SC.
It also asserted that there was “no difference of opinion between the Centre and the State Government.