SC issues notice against seizure of Italian ship

SC issues notice against seizure of Italian ship

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to Centre and Kerala government on a petition challenging the detaining of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie after two of its military protection guard allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen on February 15.

A bench of Justice R M Lodha and Justice H L Gokhale also sought response from victims’ family members as well as the Port Trust and posted the matter for hearing to April 20. Senior counsel K K Venugopal, appearing for petitioner M T Enrica Lexie and others, sought release of the ship, saying that the people allegedly involved in the incident had already been arrested.

“This is a very emotive issue.  Firearms have been sent for forensic examination, two persons alleged to be involved have been arrested. The ship has nothing to do with the matter,” he said.

During the hearing, Justice Lodha, however, observed that the court would only decide on the issue after finding out whether  the vessel became the property for attachment as mandated under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in this particular case.

The bench also said “it need to examine whether seizure of ship is applicable to a murder charge. If there is a house where the shooting has taken place, can the house be attached to the case?”

MT Enrica Lexie had approached the Supreme Court, challenging the Kerala High Court’s order detaining the ship following the killing of two Indian fishermen.

The ship has been lying within the limits of Cochin Port Trust since February 15.

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