'Avail extradition treaty to bring back 5 fishermen'

Petition seeking a direction to the Indian High Commission in Colombo to avail the extradition treaty between India and Sri Lanka and bring back five fishermen, now in a jail in the island nation, to the central prison here, was filed at Madras High court bench here on Monday.

Madurai: Petition seeking a direction to the Indian High Commission in Colombo to avail the extradition treaty between India and Sri Lanka and bring back five fishermen, now in a jail in the island nation, to the central prison here, was filed at Madras High court bench here on Monday.

Petitioner S M Anantha Murugan, an advocate, submitted that nine agreements had been signed between the two countries, including on Maritime boundary and exchange of prisoners -- both under trial and those convicted.

He contended that the five fishermen sentenced to death were arrested by Lankan navy within 12 nautical miles of the Indian shores, which was beyond their territorial jurisdiction as per one of the treaties.

Since the fishermen were arrested in Indian territory, they should have been tried by the Special court in Thanjavur under the Essential commodities Act and Narcotics and psychotropic Substances Act, he submitted.

The extradition treaty was based on resolutions passed by the United Nations, SAARC nations and Vienna convention. Hence the fishermen should be transferred to the Central Prison here, he said.

The petition will be taken up for hearing tomorrow.

Meanwhile Justice M Venugopal transferred the petition filed by the wife of one of the fishermen, seeking a direction to the Centre and others to appoint a counsel and conduct the appeal in the case in an effective manner,to a division bench.

In her writ petition, Lavanya, wife of Emerson, sought a direction to the Union Home Minister, Director (Sri Lanka) in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka for appointment of a counsel for the convicted fishermen and also steps to secure her husband.

When the case came for hearing today, the Judge transferred it to a division bench.  

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