The Madras High Court, on Saturday, wondered why the Centre has not found a permanent solution to the alleged attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. A bench of Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad were hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by Fishermen Care, an NGO, seeking the court to direct the Centre to refer the issue to the International Court of Justice.
According to reports, the bench raised the question since many rounds of talks have been held between the central government and the government officials of Sri Lanka, and also between the fishermen of the two countries.
The bench also said that the authorities could think of fitting the boats with a GPS device, which would alert the nearest coast guard authorities when the boat crosses the stipulated number of nautical miles, thereby crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line. It added that such initiatives would help in reducing the number of complaints of Indian fishermen getting attacked while fishing within the Indian boundary.
The Centre had already filed an affidavit in the court as a response to the PIL stating that since there are no treaties between the two countries which could establish that the attacks on Indian fishermen is a human rights violation, India cannot take the issue up to the International Court of Justice.
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General of India G. Rajagopalan sought two weeks’ time to obtain instructions from the Centre on the issue. He said that it was wrong to say that only Indian fishermen were facing problems on high seas because the Indian Coast Guard has also apprehended Sri Lankan as well as Pakistani fishermen for straying into the territorial waters of India.