The Kerala high court admitted a petition on Thursday filed by the Italian government questioning the detention of its two marines. The court directed the Centre and Kerala government to file their replies by Tuesday.
The petition, filed by Italian consul general in Mumbai Giampaola Cutillo, sought a stay on further proceedings against the two marines in connection with the firing incident of February 15, in which two Indian fishermen were killed.
Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone, who were on board the ship Enrica Lexie had opened fire on the fishermen mistaking them for pirates.
Justice PS Gopinathan asked the Italian authorities why they were not cooperating with the police. The Italians said under international laws, India has no jurisdiction to try the men. The petition said the naval guards had functional immunity under international laws because they were on duty to protect their ship against piracy.
The Kollam CJM court, meanwhile, has extended the custody of the accused marines by a week. The Italian authorities have offered to cooperate with the police for the ballistic examination of the weapons.
“We will cooperate, but we should also be present (during the examination),” said Italian deputy minister Staffan de Mitsura, who is in Kerala.
“We stick to our stand that the vessel was in international waters, 22.5 nautical miles (41.6 km) off Kollam coast,” Mitsura said after meeting the accused.
The diplomatic stand-off over the issue continues, with external affairs minister SM Krishna saying in Delhi on Thursday that the decision on how to pursue the case rests with the Centre and the Kerala government.