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Italian marines row: SC asks Centre to end logjam within a week

SC has asked Centre to make its stand clear by Feb 10 on invoking anti-piracy law against marines.

New Delhi |
Updated: February 3, 2014 1:35:53 pm
SC asked Centre to make its stand on Italian marines clear by February 10. SC asked Centre to make its stand clear by February 10 on invoking anti-piracy law against the marines.

The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to resolve within a week all disputes arising out of the issue of invoking anti-piracy law against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012.

A bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan directed the Centre to end the logjam in the issue in which Ministries of Law, Home Affairs and External Affairs are involved and make its stand clear on February 10.

“Will you be able to end the logjam by next Monday? Don’t expect us to grant adjournment on the next date,” the bench said while posting the case for hearing on February 10.

Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati told the bench that the Centre has “almost” resolved the issue and will respond on the next date of hearing.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Italian Government and Marines, submitted that the Centre has not been able to proceed in the case and 13 months have lapsed since the apex court has passed the order for conducting day-to-day proceedings.

He submitted that marines should be allowed to go back to their country.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Italian 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 marines.

During the last hearing on January 20, the apex court had adjourned the case after Vahanvati had submitted that the Centre was trying to resolve all disputes with Italian government on the issue. (With PTI inputs)

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