New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on the petition filed by two Italian marines challenging the jurisdiction of NIA to prosecute and probe the case of killing of two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012.
The fresh move by the marines comes more than a month after the Indian Government decided to withdraw their prosecution under the stringent anti-piracy SUA law that attracts death penalty as maximum punishment.
A bench comprising justices BS Chauhan and J Chelameswar issued notice to the Union Government and sought its response on the contention of the Italian marines that the probe into the alleged killing of fishermen by the NIA was illegal.
"Now by order dated February 6, 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs has superseded its sanction order of January 17, 2014 and thus deleted section 3(1)(g)(i) of the SUA Act. Hence NIA has ceased to have jurisdiction in view of the mandate of section 3 (1) of the NIA Act," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the marines submitted.
The bench also allowed the request of the counsel to defer the scheduled March 31 hearing of the case before the special court set up exclusively to deal with the case of the marines.
Rohatgi said since the charge sheet has not been filed in the case, the proceedings are periodically adjourned and unnecessarly those associated with the case have to mark their presence in court.
The case pertains to the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by Italian marines Latorre and Girone on board ship `Enrica Lexie` off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.