The act of the Kerala High Court Registrar General wherein he had modified the order given by the Supreme Court dated May 2, 2012, has been disapproved by the Apex Court on Wednesday.
A Bench comprising Justice R M Lodha and Justice H L Gokhale while disapproving the act by Registrar General, however, refrained from interfering with the order modified by the Registrar General as the vessel owner had already complied with the direction by furnishing a fixed deposit of `3 crore instead of a bond of `3 crore.
“We ourselves are not satisfied with the Registrar General’s order. It was wrong. Registrar General is a senior judicial officer. He should have understood the judicial order. We disapprove of it,” the bench said.
The Apex Court had ordered the owners of Enrica Lexie to execute a `3 crore bond as a surety for securing the presence of the six crew members of the Italian vessel.
But the Registrar General had interpreted the order in his own way and asked the ship owners to furnish a Demand Draft or a fixed deposit for `3 crore, Venugopal pointed out.
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising had contended that as the Apex Court’s order stated that the bond be executed to the satisfaction of the Registrar General, the officer in a bona fide manner interpreted the order so as to mean that he can secure the crew’s presence by insisting on an FD or a Demand Draft, she added. By this act, the Registrar General had exceeded his jurisdiction, by modifying the Apex Court’s direction, senior counsel K K Venugopal, who appeared for the vessel owners felt.