The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the government as to why it was "dragging its feet" on the issue of setting up a special court for holding trial of two Italian marines, accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen.
The apex court also took exception to the Centre not following its January 18 direction to consult the chief justice of India to set up a special court to try the case.
"Why the Centre is dragging its feet? Nobody has made attempt for consultation for setting up of court," a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said.
The remarks were made after the bench was told that the issue of setting up a special court was under consideration.
"How long will it take? If the court would have been set up, the trial in the case could have been over. Why it is late? It would have by now decided whether they are guilty or not," the bench, also comprising justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen, observed during the hearing on the pleas by the two marines seeking to visit their country to cast votes for the upcoming general elections.
The apex court on January 18 had rejected the plea of the Italian government and the two accused marines that Indian courts have no jurisdiction in the case and they should be tried in an Italian court.
It had directed that the accused be shifted to Delhi and be under the 'custody' of the Supreme Court till the Centre constitutes a special court to hold their trial.
"Union of India is, therefore, directed, in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, to set up a Special Court to try this case and to dispose of the same ...," the court had said in its January 18 order.