The Supreme Court on Friday asked Italy to deposit Rs 10 crore, that would be paid to the families of two Kerala fishermen killed by Italian marines, in an account specified by the Ministry of External Affairs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said the compensation received from the Italian government will be deposited with the Supreme Court for disbursement among the victims.
The Central government and the Kerala government informed the top court that victims’ families have agreed to a compensation of Rs 10 crore, over & above ex-gratia amount received earlier from Italy. The bench observed that the case against Italian marines will be closed after the compensation is deposited.
The top court has listed the government’s application for closure of criminal trial against Italian marines on April 19.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the top court that the Indian government has negotiated a good deal with the Italian government and cited the international tribunal order, which ruled that the criminal proceedings will be carried out against the marines by the Italian government.
The Italian government has offered a compensation of Rs 10 crore, out of which Kerala government proposed to disburse Rs 4 crore, to the dependents of each deceased and Rs 2 crore to the owner of the boat St. Antony.
Mehta told the bench that after the Indian government receives money from the Italian government, it will be transferred in the top court account within three 3 days.
Chief Justice Bobde told Mehta: “We wish the government showed such promptness in other cases listed before us.” In a lighter vein, Mehta replied, “it depends on which ministry is involved in a case.”
Senior advocate Suhail Dutt, representing the Italian government, submitted that his client has agreed to deposit the compensation of Rs 10 crore with the Indian government and they are waiting instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs to transfer the money.
The top court was considering Centre’s plea to close criminal proceedings pending against Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.