The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it is trying to resolve the disputes amicably over the Italian Government’s concern of invoking anti-terrorism law against its two marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.
Appearing before a Bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan, Attorney General G E Vahanvati submitted that there has been delay in initiating trial against the marines as the witnesses who were accompanying the accused on the ship are not coming to India to depose despite giving an undertaking.
“If you are trying to find a solution, we have no objection. But it should be a bonafide attempt to resolve the problem,” the Bench told the AG.
The Attorney General sought time to reply to the contentions raised by the Italian Government which submitted that invocation of anti-terrorism law against the marines would tantamount to the republic of Italy being termed a terrorist state.
The Bench, after hearing his contention, posted the case for February 3.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Italy Government challenging invoking of anti-terrorism law SUA (Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf) Act 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 Ambassador of Italy 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 Italian marines.
The petition said that the draft protocol of 2005 to the Suppression of Unlawful Acts convention expressly excludes the applicability of the convention to activities undertaken by the military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties.