The apex court passed the order after the Italian government went back on its solemn promise to send back two of its marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to face trial for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15 last year, mistaking them for pirates.
“It’s good news,” Diljeet Titus, a lawyer representing the Italian marines, said of the court’s decision. The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also enquired from Attorney General GE Vahanvati as to what steps the government has taken to set up a special fast track court to try the two marines in pursuance of its January 18 order.
The court directed the listing of the matter on April 16 so that the government could inform it about the steps it has taken for setting up the fast track court. The attorney general told the court that various steps have been taken in accordance with the January 18 order and correspondence in this regard was also going on.
Referring to some media reports, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Italian government told the court that the trial of the case was being entrusted to a chief judicial magistrate (CJM) court and that the investigation into the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Rohatgi said that neither the NIA nor the CJM court have the jurisdiction to handle the case. However, Vahanvati pleaded with the court not to take cognisance of the media reports.
The court held that it was only the union of India that had the jurisdiction to try the two marines and told the government to set up a special court in consultation with the chief justice to hold the trial.
Lights out at Colosseum, Rome to protest Italian marines case
Rome’s right wing mayor plans to turn off the lights of ancient landmarks the Colosseum and the Imperial Forum for the first time on Wednesday to “draw attention to the shameful case of the two marines”. Also on Wednesday, Italian neo-fascist group Casapound is due to protest in front of the seat of government in Rome, calling for Italy to close its embassy to India and to expel the Indian ambassador.