SC Defers Hearing on Italian Marines Case

Published: 18th February 2014 06:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2014 06:04 PM   |  A+A-

Italian Marines2PTI

The Supreme Court today asked the  Centre to make its stand clear on disputes arising out of  the issue of invoking anti-piracy law against two Italian  marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala  coast in 2012.             

A bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan asked the government  to respond by February 24 when it will hear the case.          

"We want to know the decision taken by the government to  decide the case," the bench said Attorney General G E Vahanvati told the bench that the  government is waiting Law Ministry's opinion which might come  by Friday.          

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Italian government and the marines, submitted that the Centre has not  been able to move in the case despite the apex court's order  and pleaded that his client be allowed to go back to their  country till Centre takes a decision.    

The bench said that it will take up the case on February 24 and will then hear the submission.         

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Italian  government challenging invoking of anti-terrorism law SUA, saying it is against the order of the apex court which allowed  proceedings only under the Maritime Zone Act, IPC, CrPC and  UNCLOS.           

The joint petition, filed by Italian Ambassador Daniele  Mancini along with Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and  Salvatore Girone, also sought direction to the Centre and NIA  to expedite the proceedings in the case or discharge the  marines.     

The petition said invoking the Suppression of Unlawful  Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms  on Continental Shelf Act (SUA)) "would tantamount to the  Republic of Italy being termed a terrorist state and acts of  its organs, which were in repression of piracy, as being  deemed as acts of terrorism, which is wholly untenable and  unacceptable in the facts and circumstances of this case and  in keeping with the comity of nations and international  cooperation".             

The case pertains to the killing of two Indian fishermen  allegedly by Latorre and Girone on board 'Enrica Lexie' off  Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.             

The two officers contended that they had apprehended a  piracy attack. The marines were arrested on February 19, 2012.



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