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Give ample aid before Marines case is shut: SC | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to close the criminal proceedings against two Italian Marines, accused of killing two Kerala fishermen in February 2012, without ensuring that Italy paid “adequate compensation” to the family of the victims and directed their impleadment in the pending petition.
A bench of CJI S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian told solicitor general Tushar Mehta, “Union government has accepted the UNCLOS tribunal award. That is your choice. After that, you come to the SC saying the criminal investigation into the role of the Marines will be taken up by Italy. This doesn’t take care of the compensation component. It has to be fixed.”
Marines case
Bring cheque to us, we’ll give it to victims’ kin: SC
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said the Indian government has expert negotiators who would ensure that more than adequate compensation is paid. For the Italian government, senior advocate Suhai Dutt said Italy had already paid Rs 1.15 crore each to the families of two deceased Kerala fishermen.
But the bench said, “We want Italy to pay adequate compensation. You (Italy government) must pay adequate compensation without bargaining. You bring the cheque to the SC. We will hand it over to the kin of the victims.” The SC directed the Centre to make the family of deceased parties to the petition and posted hearing in the case after one week.
When Dutt said the UNCLOS tribunal’s award was binding on the parties, the SC said, “That does not mean much in these proceedings. We’re not going to hear this petition without the kin of the victims.”
Immediately after the May 21 award of the UNCLOS tribunal, the Centre had requested the SC to close the eight-year-old proceedings initiated by the Italian government and two Marines against the latter’s
prosecution in the killing of two Kerala fishermen in 2012, saying further hearing was not required.
The application by the MEA said the government had accepted the award of the arbitral tribunal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as it vindicated the Indian stand by ruling that “actions of the Italian Marines (Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone on board Italian vessel Enrica Lexie) breached India’s freedom and right of navigation” and upheld the conduct of Indian authorities with regard to the February 15, 2012, firing incident resulting in death of two fishermen aboard St Antony off the Kerala coast.
The tribunal, the MEA told the SC, held that both India and Italy had concurrent jurisdiction over the incident and that there existed a valid basis for instituting criminal proceedings against the two Marines. However, it cited diplomatic immunity enjoyed by them that non-suited India from exercising its jurisdiction over the Marines. The tribunal rejected the Italian claim for compensation for detention of the Marines in India in connection with the case, it said.

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