The Supreme Court on Monday allowed one of two Italian marines facing murder charges to further extend his stay in his home country following heart surgery, again delaying the start of a trial that has strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Massimiliano Latorre was granted permission by the court to remain in Italy for a further six months on medical grounds.
Latorre and Salvatore Girone, part of a military team protecting a cargo ship, say they mistook Indian fishermen for pirates and fired warning shots during the incident in 2012 off the Kerala coast. Two fishermen were killed.
The marines' arrest opened a diplomatic rift between Rome and New Delhi, and led to the collapse of a European Union-India summit planned during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France and Germany this spring.
The Supreme Court bench hearing the case requested that the Indian government provide a detailed reply by Aug. 26 to an Italian request for the pair to be tried under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and by arbitration.
Girone is staying in the Italian embassy in New Delhi awaiting trial.
In April 2012, Rome paid $190,000 to each of the victims' families as compensation. In return, the families dropped their cases against the marines, but the state's case has yet to come to trial.