The government Tuesday told the Supreme Court it has no objection if the two Italian marines, who allegedly killed a couple of fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012, are allowed to remain in Italy until India’s jurisdiction to try them is decided.
Responding to a plea by the Italy government, Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha told a bench led by Justice Anil R Dave that the government was agreeable to let marine Massimiliano Latorre remain at home till an international tribunal decides whether India had the jurisdictional right to make the marines stand trial here.
Narasimha pointed out that the other marine, Salvatore Girone, was allowed to go back in May and now Latorre could also be permitted to stay in Italy on imposition of the same conditions.
However, the bench, which also comprised Justices Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy, said that it would want a formal reply to the Italy’s application in this regard and gave Centre a week to do so. The court posted the matter for hearing next on September 28. According to an earlier order, the relief granted to Latorre to stay in Italy expires on September 30.
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During the brief hearing, counsel for Kerala government as well as senior advocate Rana Mukherjee, who represented the families of the slain fishermen, opposed any blanket order since the proceedings before the international tribunal might not get concluded before 2019.
At this, Narasimha said that the international tribunal has made it clear that the marines are subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India, which can take a call on granting bail.
In May, the court had modified Girone’s bail conditions and asked him to file an affidavit “accepting and recognising that he remains and shall, even upon his departure from India, continue to remain under the authority of the Supreme Court of India.” This condition, however, may not stand the rigour of the principles on territorial jurisdiction and raises questions on whether an Indian court may exercise authority outside India.
Girone was further also asked to surrender his passport to the Italian authorities, report to the local police station in Italy regularly, and not make any attempt to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence. The court said his bail would be cancelled if he was found to have violated any of the conditions imposed.
Further, the Italian ambassador was directed to file an undertaking before Girone’s departure that he shall be made to return to India within one month of the decision of the arbitral tribunal requiring him to do so, or as directed by the court.