NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday said the issues affecting the Tamil Nadu fishermen including the release of those languishing in Sri Lankan jails could be resolved only through political and diplomatic channels as it has no jurisdiction to issue direction to a foreign government.
A bench of Chief Justice R.M.Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said this while asking the petitioners - DMK's A.K. Vijayan, AIDMK member and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai to approach the government for the solution of the Tamil Nadu fishermen's problem vis-a-vis Sri Lanka.
Disposing the petitions by two lawmakers who had sought the court's intervention for the resolution of Tamil Nadu fishermen problems on fishing in sea without straying into Sri Lankan waters, the court asked them to make a representation to the new government for the redressal of their grievance.
As the counsel for one of the lawmakers told the court that they had earlier made a representation to the previous prime minister but it had no effect, the court said: "Dispensation has changed. There is a new government. You say earlier you made a representation to the (then) prime minister. Now you make a fresh one."
"We have our limitations. We can't issue directions," the court said that as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that these are matters which can be sorted out at a different level.
Rohatgi told the court that one of the petitioner was Lok Sabha's deputy speaker and could speak to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj any time. "They can pick up the phone and speak to the minister when they want," hei said pointing to the counsel for Thambidurai.
"You are holding an important office. Do whatever you want to do," the court told the counsel for Thambidurai.
The petitioners have drawn the attention of the court to the alleged continued atrocities by the Sri Lankan Navy on the Indian fishermen as it said that according to official data, more than 400 Tamil Nadu fishermen have been killed after 1983, including as many as 118 between 1991 and 2008.
The counsel for the petitioner sought the protection of the Coast Guard so that fishermen are safe when they go for fishing.