Supreme of India allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone, one of the two marines accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012 while relaxing his bail conditions. The apex court asked him to go to Italy until the jurisdictional issue between India and Italy is decided by International Arbitral Tribunal.
Second marine Massimiliano Latorre is already in Italy on health grounds and his stay there was recently extended by the apex court till September 30 this year.
A vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and D Y Chandrachud sought a fresh undertaking from Italian Ambassador in New Delhi saying that he will be responsible in bringing back the marine within one month after International Arbitral Tribunal (IAT) decides jurisdictional issue in India’s favour.
As per the bail conditions imposed by SC, the marine has to report to police station in Italy on first Wednesday of every month and the Italian Embassy has to inform the Indian Embassy in Rome about the same.
As per court, marine should not tamper with any evidence nor influence any witness in the case.
The third condition imposed was that Girone will give an undertaking that he will remain under the jurisdiction of Supreme Court. Lastly, if found violating any of the conditions imposed, his bail will be cancelled, the apex court said.
“We support the application on humanitarian grounds subject to his compliance with the conditions imposed by the court,” Said Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Narasimha during the hearing.
But governments decision decision to allow the marine to leave for Italy has been contested by the newly elected Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan.
“We don’t accept Centre’s stand in Italian marines case. Accused who committed crime here must be tried here,” said Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram.
Girone pleaded the Supreme Court lawyer Jagjit Singh Chhabra, seeking a direction that Ministry of Home Affairs and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office be asked to provide him with the “necessary residential permit and exit visa”.
Girone had also said the authorities at the Indira Gandhi International Airport including the Bureau of Immigration and the concerned CISF and other security authorities be apprised of the court’s direction that he can leave India.
Centre on the last hearing told the court marine can be allowed to leave on the specific terms as the international arbitration proceedings are expected to decide the jurisdictional issue “expeditiously.”
Earlier, the apex court on April 26, had extended the stay of Latorre in Italy till September 30.
The court was informed by the Centre that international arbitration proceedings in the matter would be completed by December 2018.
Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar had apprised the bench about the schedule of proceedings fixed before International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Germany.
The apex court had on January 13 asked the Centre to apprise it of the status of international arbitration proceedings in the case.
While allowing the joint request of India and Italy, the apex court had said the proceedings would remain stalled till the jurisdictional issue about which country has the right to conduct trial was decided through international arbitration.
The apex court had on August 26, 2015 suspended all court proceedings here in pursuance of an interim order of the ITLOS asking India to maintain “status quo” in the case.
Latorre, who had suffered a brain stroke on August 31, 2014, was allowed by the apex court on September 12, 2014 to go to Italy for four months and after that, extensions have been granted to him.
The two marines are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012 when they were on board ship ‘Enrica Lexie.’ The complaint against the Italian marines was lodged by Freddy who is the owner of the fishing boat ‘St Antony.’ Marines allegedly killed two Indian fishermen sailing in St Antony boat under the misconception that they were pirates.
Italy and India have been making contrary claims over the right to prosecute the two Italian marines in the case.