[Italian Marines] Supreme Court Directs MEA To Pay Compensation; To Be Submitted In Court Within One Week

  • Sakshi Shukla & Shruti Kakkar
  • 12:54 PM, 09 Apr 2021

Supreme Court Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian while hearing the matter of Italian marines, directs the Republic of Italy to pay compensation due as per order dated May 21, 2020 to the Ministry of External Affairs, and the same amount to be deposited within one week to the Supreme Court.

CJI: “Dutt appearing for Italy states that amount of compensation to victims family will be paid over to Italy by India in the particular account specified by MEA in terms of the award dated 21 May 2020. After such amount is received by UOI, the said amount shall be deposited in this court within a period of 1 week thereafter.”

SGI: “I will share the account number & the amount can be deposited within 3 days.”

CJI: “You are saying 3 days, normally the government says no no 2 weeks 3 weeks. Mr SGI we would like if you act in the same speed in regular matters also.”

On Wednesday, Solicitor General had informed the Court that the victims had already been compensated and there was nothing left to be adjudicated in the matter. A request was made for an urgent hearing pursuant to which the matter was listed today for appropriate direction in the pending IA.

In today’s hearing;

Learned SGI informed the Bench; “State Government had agreed to disburse 4 crore to each dependant of the deceased and 2 crore to the owner of boat. The difficulty now is the International Court is saying that the same would be prosecuted by Government of Italy. Trial court have no jurisdiction but the same is possible if the Bench passes an order under Art 142.”

Advocate Jaideep Gupta appearing for the State of Kerala submitted, “We have talked to the victims. The only stipulation is that the money should be deposited in SC first before quashing the complaint. Because there is no enforcement mechanism.”

Advocate Unnikrishnan appearing for the crew members state, “No amount has been paid as per the award. After paying the amount, it can be closed… total 11 crew members were there but only 8 have been contacted.”

Advocate Suhail Dutt appears for the Republic of Italy.

CJI to Dutt, “You deposit the compensation in this court. When will you pay Dutt?”

Earlier, the bench led by CJI had asked the Union to pay adequate compensation to the aggrieved families.

In its judgment dated July 2, 2020, Permanent Court of Arbitration had allowed India to seek compensation from Italian Mariners. It was, inter-alia, observed, “that as a result of the breach by Italy of Article 87, paragraph 1, subparagraph (a), and Article 90 of the Convention, India is entitled to payment of compensation in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property (including to the “St. Antony”) and moral harm suffered by the captain and other crew members of the “St. Antony”, which by its nature cannot be made good through restitution”

The submission by the Republic of India was that the Italian Marines; Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, had violated articles of UNCLOS by firing at Indian Fishermen in the EEZ, reserved exclusively for peaceful purposes.

It was on February 15, 2012 that a fishing boat ‘St. Antony’ was mistaken for a pirate boat by the Italian mariners.

Consequently two Indian fishermen, Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki were shot dead.

Case Title: Massimilano Latorre & Ors v UOI & Ors