New Delhi, June 15 (ILNS): The Supreme Court today, after confirming that Rs 10 crores was deposited by the Republic of Italy as compensation, directed that all proceedings against the two Italian Marines, who had killed two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012, mistaking them to be pirates, be quashed.
The Bench of Justices MR Shah and Indira Banerjee observed that the state of Kerala, the heirs of the deceased fishermen as well as the owner of fishing boat St Antony (on which the fishermen were sailing), have agreed to accept the compensation amount offered by the Republic of Italy.
The Court further requested the Republic of Italy to start criminal proceedings against Italian Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone under its jurisdiction. The case details and evidences will be provided by the Republic of India and the State of Kerala to Italy, it added.
The Bench directed that the compensation amount of Rs 10 crore lying in the Supreme Court registry be transferred to the Kerala High Court. The Chief Justice of Kerala High Court should appoint a Judge for proper disposal of money among the heirs of the deceased fishermen, it added.
The Bench said that Rs four crore should be given to each of the two victim’s heirs and remaining Rs two crore amount to the boat owner of St Antony.
Thereafter, the Court quashed all the FIRs and disposed off all the pending cases with respect to this issue.
Justices Indira Banerjee and M R Shah passed this order, to bring curtains over the controversy following the Union government’s stand, accepting award of arbitration tribunal under the UNCLOS, which gave criminal jurisdiction over marines to Italy, but made India entitled to compensation.
Titus & Co represented the Republic of Italy at the Kerala ( including Sessions court)High Court, the Supreme Court and at the Arbitral Tribunal at the Hague thru all stages of the case until today. Our plea was that the Marines enjoy functional and military immunity and cannot be tried in the courts in India and that being military officials ,Italy alone had jurisdiction to try them in Italy in accordance with its laws. This was our main argument from the date of the incident on 15th Feb 2012, partly allowed by the SC but finally decided in our ( Italy’s)favour by the Arbitral Tribunal at the Hague whose Award we got implemented today by the Supreme Court, Mr Diljeet Titus representing Republic of Italy said. ILNS/ABV/RJ/SNG