Taking on record Centre’s ‘no objection’, the Supreme Court Friday allowed Massimiliano Latorre, one of the two Italian marines facing murder charges in India, to travel to his country for medical treatment for four months.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha however clarified that its order on relief will become operational only after Latorre, who suffered brain stroke on August 31, gives an “unequivocal” and “unambiguous” undertaking of the dates of departure and his arrival back to India. The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman, expressed displeasure at various contentions, including the one relating to the jurisdictional issue, raised by Lattore in his undertaking. It refused to accept such an “equivocal” undertaking and asked him to furnish a fresh one, which was succinct and plain.
The court accepted a separate undertaking furnished by Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini on behalf of the Republic of Italy, stating that the ailing marine would abide by all terms and conditions set for his travel to his native country.
“Having heard the counsel, we are of the view that applicant be permitted to travel to Italy for his treatment for a period of four months,” the bench said. It added that “since the Government of India has no objection in principle on the plea of the applicant (Latorre), we direct that authorities here will facilitate his travel”.
The bench said the condition for the relief granted to Latorre would be same as set by the apex court on February 22, 2013 when the two marines were allowed to travel to Italy under the control and custody of the Ambassador of Italy in India, to cast their ballot in the elections. Latorre and fellow marine Salvatore Girone are currently barred from leaving India, pending a possible trial under murder charge for shooting two fishermen while serving as part of an anti-piracy mission on an Italian-flagged oil tanker, Enrica Lexie, off the Kerala coast in February 2012.
They have been living at the Italian embassy, in the custody of the Supreme Court. The court is to decide on the validity of the probe conducted by the National Investigation Agency against them, besides the other aspects relating to sending them up for trial under various charges.