No sovereign immunity for Italian Marines, centre tells SC

August 31st, 2012 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) The government Thursday told the Supreme Court that two Italian Marines facing trial for killing two fishermen off Kerala coast enjoyed no sovereign immunity and were liable to face prosecution under the Indian laws.

Additional Solicitor General Gourab Banerji told the apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar that armed forces personnel of foreign countries did not enjoy any sovereign immunity and such privileges were provided only to their diplomats.

Banerji contested the maintainability of the Italian government’s writ petition by invoking Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, saying that there could not be any violation of the rights of the sovereign Italian state.

Article 32 of the constitution provides for the remedies for the enforcement of the fundamental rights conferred by the constitution.

The ASG said this during the hearing of the petition of the Italian government and its two Marines seeking the quashing of charges against them and the suspension of their trial in the killing of two fishermen Feb 15.

Chief Master Sergeant Massimilano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore had shot dead the fishermen, allegedly suspecting them to be pirates.

The Marines have challenged the Kerala High Court order dismissing their petition claiming sovereign immunity.

The high court while rejecting the plea of sovereign immunity by Italian Marines had imposed a fine of Rs.1 lakh on each of them.

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