19 April 2021 6:52 AM GMT
The Republic of Italy is yet to deposit before the Central Government the Rupees 10 crores compensation in the Enrica Lexie case related to the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian Marines in 2012.This was informed by the Union of India before the Supreme Court on Monday.A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India was hearing the application filed by the Centre seeking to close...
The Republic of Italy is yet to deposit before the Central Government the Rupees 10 crores compensation in the Enrica Lexie case related to the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian Marines in 2012.
This was informed by the Union of India before the Supreme Court on Monday.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India was hearing the application filed by the Centre seeking to close the criminal cases against the two Italian Marines in India, after accepting the compensation offered by Italy.
On April 9, the Supreme Court had asked the Republic of Italy of deposit the Rupees 10 crores compensation in the account specified by the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Ministry was in turn directed to deposit the same in the Supreme Court after receiving the amount from Italy.
The Top Court had then said that it will consider the closing of the pending criminal cases in India against two Italian Marines for the killing of two Indian fishermen only after the compensation was received.
Today, when the matter was taken, CJI Bobde asked at the outset "Where is the money?"
"We are awaiting the receipt of money. They(Italy) have initiated the transfer of money", the Centre's counsel replied. He sought for a pass over of the case as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was not engaged before another bench.
"We will keep it next week. That's what we said initially. But you said three days", CJI responded, referring to submission made by the Solicitor General on the last date that the amount will be deposited before the Supreme Court within 3 days.
"We expected a quicker response from Italy", the Central Government Counsel said.
The bench adjourned the matter till next week.
The Centre had told the Court that as per the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration(PCA) under the United Nations Convention of Law of Seas, India has no jurisdiction to launch criminal prosecution against the Italian Marines over the sea-firing incident. Therefore, the Solicitor General had requested the Supreme Court to quash the cases invoking powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, as the trial court cannot act on the international award.
The top court was informed that the families of the deceased fishermen have accepted the compensation offer.As per the statement filed by the Centre, the Kerala Government has decided to disburse Rs 4 Crores each to the families of the two deceased fishermen and Rs 2 crores to the owner of the boat 'St Antony'. An amount of Rs 2.17 crores was earlier paid by Italy to the families.
In July last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration(PCA) under the United Nations Convention of Law of Seas had ruled that India was entitled to claim compensation from Italy for the death of Indian fishermen. However, the International Tribunal also held that India has no jurisdiction to launch criminal prosecution against the Marines as they had sovereign immunity.
Following that, the Centre had informed the Supreme Court that it was accepting the award of the PCA and sought to quash the pending cases against the Marines.
In August last year, the Supreme Court had told the Centre that the cases will not be quashed without hearing the families of victims.
The incident happened on Febraury 15, 2012, at a distance of about 20.5 nautical miles from the Kerala coastline. A fishing boat 'St Antony' happened to pass "Erica Lexie", a tanker flying the Italian Flag. Two marines aboard the ship - Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - mistook 'St Antony' for a pirate boat, and opened fire at it. This resulted in the death of two fishermen - Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki.