The Supreme Court on Friday stated that the Union governmentâ€™s plea to close the 2012 case against Italian Marines who shot dead two Indian fishermen, will only be considered after Italy deposits compensation amount. A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices As Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said the top court will disburse the compensation to the kin of the fishermen killed. The bench said that a week after depositing the compensation amount in its account, the top court will hear the Union governmentâ€™s plea for closure of case against the Italian Marines.
In February 2012, two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, on board the MV Enrica Lexie -- an Italian flagged oil tanker -- killed two Indian fishermen who were on a fishing vessel named St Antony in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
On August 7 last year, the Supreme Court had made it clear to the Union government that it would not pass any order on the plea seeking closure of cases against the two Italian marines without hearing the victims' families who should be given adequate compensation.
The Union government had told the SC that Italy has assured the Indian government that it would prosecute the Marines as per their law and that maximum compensation will be ensured to the victims' family members.
According to Live Law, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta told SC on Friday that the Union government will inform Italy the account number to which the amount has to be deposited.
The Union government and the Kerala government informed the top court that victims' families have agreed to a compensation of Rs 10 crore, over & above ex-gratia amount received earlier from Italy. The bench observed that the case against Italian marines will be closed after the compensation is deposited.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the top court that the Indian government has negotiated a good deal with the Italian government and cited the international tribunal order, which ruled that the criminal proceedings will be carried out against the marines by the Italian government.
The Italian government has offered a compensation of Rs 10 crore, out of which the Kerala government proposed to disburse Rs 4 crore to the dependents of each deceased and Rs 2 crore to the owner of the boat St. Antony.
Mehta told the bench that after the Indian government receives money from the Italian government, it will be transferred to the top court account within three 3 days.
Chief Justice Bobde told Mehta: "We wish the government showed such promptness in other cases listed before us." In a lighter vein, Mehta replied, "it depends on which ministry is involved in a case."
Senior advocate Suhail Dutt, representing the Italian government, submitted that his client has agreed to deposit the compensation of Rs 10 crore with the Indian government and they are awaiting instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs to transfer the money.