No immunity to Italian mariners, Centre tells SC
The Centre told the Supreme Court today that the Italian mariners, who shot dead two fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15 this year, do not enjoy any sovereign immunity and are liable for criminal prosecution.
In an affidavit, the Ministry of External Affairs told a bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir that the Kerala government had acted within the law in initiating criminal action against the Italian mariners.
Maintaining that the Italian government had not come with clean hands to the court, the Centre said the former also had no Constitutional right to move the apex court as it was not entitled to any fundamental right which is guaranteed to every citizen of the country.
"Article 32 of the Constitution guarantees the right to move the Supreme Court for enforcement of rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution. The rights under Part III are conferred on citizens or on persons. In case there is any violation of a fundamental right of a person, it is the person who has the right to prefer a writ petition under Article 32. Article 32 cannot be construed to permit a sovereign State to file a writ petition for enforcing the fundamental rights of its nationals," the affidavit said.
The Centre said the Italian government had also concealed from the apex court the fact that it had filed an admiralty suit in Kerala and had also entered into a compromise with the families of the deceased fishermen.