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SC allows Italian marine to stay home for another six months

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New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Italian marine Massimilano Latorre – accused with his colleague Salvatore Girone of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012 after mistaking them for pirates – another six months to stay home in Italy on health grounds.

Chief Master Sergeant Latorre’s plea for extension was not opposed by the government. Ordering the extension, starting from July 15, a bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Amitava Roy asked Latorre to file an undertaking, within a week, that he would abide by the conditions.

The court had on September 12, 2014 allowed Latorre to go to Italy for four months for treatment, recovery and rehabilitation after he suffered a brain stroke, and on January 14, had extended by three months, till April 12, his stay for his recovery after heart surgery.

On April 9, the court had allowed Latorre to continue to stay in Italy for another three months, a period that would end July 15.

On Monday, the bench also sought the central government’s response on an application by the Italian government seeking the stay of proceedings before the apex court, as it has moved for arbitration under Convention of Seas on the issue of jurisdiction of India to try its marines.

Maintaining that India had jurisdiction to try two marines as the offence had taken place within the Indian territorial waters, Additional Solicitor General P.S.Narsimha, appearing for the Indian government, told the court that being a signatory to the International Convention, it would be participating in the arbitration invoked by Italy.

The court gave the government two weeks time to file its reply to the fresh Italian government plea and gave another two weeks to Italy to file its rejoinder.

The government had February 24, 2014, informed the court that it was not invoking the anti-piracy law, Suppression of Unlawful Act against the safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Law (SUA) against Latorre and Girone.

In the wake of this decision, the marines and the Italian government has taken a position that once a case is not made out under this law, then the jurisdiction of NIA as an investigating agency also goes and they have challenged its continuation in the role.

–IANS