The Apex Court has ordered the shutting down of all criminal proceedings pending in India against two Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, who were accused of a sea-firing incident and killing of two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012
By: Sunayna Jain, Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal
The Supreme Court, after accepting the compensation of Rupees 10 crores deposited by the Republic of Italy, has quashed the criminal proceedings pending in India against two Italian Marines- Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were accused of sea-firing incident and killing of two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.
The division bench comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice MR Shah ordered after an application had been filed by the Central Government to quash the criminal proceedings pending in India against the marines as the last week Republic of Italy had agreed to pay an amount of ₹10 crores for killing the two Indian fishermen, which has been deposited with the Registry of the top court.
The Court ordered “Considering the tribunal order, Republic of India has agreed to the compensation of 10 crores. Republic of Italy has deposited it and it is now transferred to this court’s registry. We are satisfied with the compensation and the ex-gratia paid over and above earlier. This is a fit case to close all proceedings in India under Article 142 of the Constitution.”
Further, the Court has directed that the transfer of the amount of Rs 10 crores lying with the apex court to be transferred to the High Court of Kerala, and, out of which Rs 4 crores each should be paid to the families of the two victims and Rs 2 crores should be paid to the owner of the boat on which the fishermen were shot dead.
The court requested the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court to nominate a Judge to pass appropriate order of disbursement to protect the interest of heirs & ensure it’s received by them.
Also, The Court observed that the Republic of Italy shall now resume the criminal proceedings against the Marines in Italy.
The incident happened on 15th February, 2012 near the Kerala coastline where ‘St Antony’ (A fishing boat) passed “Erica Lexie” ( Italian ship) and where two marines Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were boarded mistook ‘St Antony’ for a pirate boat, and opened fire on that boat which resulted in the killing of the two fishermen Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki.
Last year in July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations Convention of Law of Seas held that since the marines were exercising official functions they have immunity and cannot be tried by India but India is entitled to claim compensation from Italy for the loss of life of the two Indian fishermen died to die to open fire.
Further, the Centre had informed the apex court that they will be accepting the award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and asked the SC to quash the pending cases against the Marines. Thereafter, the Court had directed the Republic of Italy to deposit the compensation of Rs. 10 Crore in terms of the award of the international tribunal.