The Italian government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against National Investigative Agency’s (NIA) move to invoke the anti-terrorism law against its two marines accused of killing fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.
Claiming the provisions of suppression of unlawful acts against safety of maritime navigation and fixed platforms on continental shelf (SUA) act would tantamount to the Republic of Italy being termed a terrorist state, the petition also seeks discharge of the marines on the ground of delay in trial.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi made an urgent mentioning of the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, which fixed January 20 to hear the matter.
The joint petition, filed by ambassador of Italy Daniele Mancini and Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, said NIA’s move to invoke SUA was against the 2012 SC judgment that allowed proceedings only under the maritime zone act, IPC, CrPC and UNCLOS.
Rohatgi contended that one year has passed since the SC had directed an expeditious hearing in the case, but the Centre has failed to implement the order and charge sheet has so far not been filed in the case. He said the NIA should be directed to file a charge sheet in two weeks and until then the marines should be allowed to go back to Italy since they were in India for over two years.
The petitioner contended that the action on the part of the Centre to invoke an anti-terrorism law is wholly “contrary to the unequivocal and specific directions of the judgement of this court.”