New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Italian government`s stand on a plea for release of its vessel Enrica Lexie whose two marines allegedly had shot dead two Indian fishermen, Jalastine and Binki, in February.
A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale reserved its order on vessel`s owner Dolphin Tankers` plea for release of the ship for 10.30 am tomorrow, by which time the Italian government too was asked to file its reply.
Earlier during the two-hour-long argument, the apex court questioned the Kerala government as to why it did not oppose the compromise reached between the families of the deceased fishermen and the Italian vessel`s owners, who reportedly paid Rs 1 crore to each victim`s family.
Referring to the compromise, the apex court bench said, "This is a challenge to the Indian judicial system, this is impermissible. It is most unfortunate."
The apex court also indicated that it was not in favour of detaining the vessel crew and the two marines unless their presence was required by the investigating authorities.
The bench made it clear that not only the citizens of this country but even foreign nationals, present in the country are entitled to the protection as per Article 21 which grants right to life and liberty to everyone in India.
Earlier on April 23, the court had sought the response of the Centre and the Kerala government on Italian government`s plea to quash the criminal cases against its two Merchant Navy personnel.
The court is also hearing a petition challenging the seizure of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie by the Indian authorities after two of its onboard marines allegedly gunned down two Indian fishermen on February 15.
The special leave petition was filed by Enrica`s owners, Dolphin Tankers questioning the Kerala High Court`s order staying the release of the vessel.