The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred till August 16 its decision on the Italian government's plea to quash the ongoing trial of two of its marines for allegedly gunning down two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in February this year.
A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameswar, which initially wanted to stay the trial, refrained from doing so after Kerala counsel Ramesh Babu submitted that framing of charges in the case by a trial court was scheduled on August 16 and it would be appropriate if the apex court takes a decision on that basis.
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising also opposed the plea for staying the trial and sought permission to file her response on the issue. Earlier, senior counsel Harish Salve assailed the Kerala high court order on the ground that it virtually held the marines guilty by using observations like 'brutal murder', "Italian government did not act in a bonafide manner," while dealing with Rome's petition challenging the jurisdiction of Indian courts to deal with the incident.
The apex court had earlier issued notices to the Centre and the state government on the plea, which also sought a stay on all criminal proceedings against the two Italian naval officers, Chief Sargent Massimiliano Lattore and Sargent Salvatore Girone.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Italian government and its two marines, challenging the May 29 order of the high court, which had held that the duo were liable to be tried by an Indian court.The petitioners have also sought a stay on all further criminal proceedings in the case pending before a Kollam court contending that the Kerala Police had no authority to conduct the probe and courts in India have no jurisdiction as the incident occurred outside the Indian territorial waters.