The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country while also issuing notices to the Republic of Italy (through its ambassador) and the two Italian marines accused of the murder of two Indian fishermen.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir said Mancini — who had assured the court that the marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, would return if they were allowed to go home for the elections — could not leave India till the next hearing on Monday (March 18).
“Issue a notice to Daniele Mancini in view of the affidavit given by him on February 9. He shall not leave India without the permission of this court,” it ordered, acting on an external affairs ministry affidavit.
The ministry later informed Mancini about the court notice. “The ambassador heard us and accepted the notice,” government sources said.
The SC had on February 22 allowed the marines to go home for four weeks, in Mancini’s custody. Under its direction, they were to return on March 22.
However, on March 11, a note-verbale was received from the Italian embassy saying the two would not be coming back and that Italy had requested the government of India to set up a meeting at a diplomatic level to reach an amicable solution to the matter, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In court, attorney general GE Vahanvati submitted that Italy's refusal to send the marines back was a breach of undertaking given to the highest court of the land.
He also placed before the bench the MEA's affidavit, which doesn't seek action against anybody and only gives an update on developments.
The marines were on board the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie when they shot and killed two fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15 last year.
They say they mistook the fishermen for pirates.