Queency Jain –
On the application filed by the Central Government, the Supreme Court has reserved orders on quashing the criminal proceeding against 2 Italian Marines guilty of killing 2 Indian fishermen in a sea-firing incident of 2012.
The decision comes after the Republic of Italy deposited a sum of Rs 10 crores compensation to the victims of the incident of 2012 at international borders of Kerala Coast.
Following the orders of Supreme Court, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta told the Court that the compensation amount has been deposited before the Supreme Court registry but the decision on apportionment of the amount lies in hands of the Kerala government as it is not only the families of dead victims who are supposed to be compensated, but also the people who got injured during the incident.
Senior advocate on behalf of Italy requested the bench to quash the criminal proceedings against the 2 marines informing that as per the awards of the International Tribunal, India has no jurisdiction to carry on criminal prosecution.
KN Balagopal, appearing on behalf of the Kerala government, informed the Court that the State has accepted the agreement after taking the consent by the families of the victims of the incident.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court reserved orders on the petition after hearing the complete matter and on the request of Solicitor general who informed the Court that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations Convention of Law of Seas has directed India to not carry on criminal prosecution without jurisdiction.
In July 2019, the PCA has already directed India to claim compensation for the incident and not carry criminal prosecution as the marines already had sovereign immunity.