Marines now want to vote in Italy

The two Italian marines, accused of killing fishermen off the Kerala coast in February, on Tuesday pleaded before the Supreme Court to allow them to visit Italy for four weeks in order to cast their votes in the general elections scheduled for February 24-25.

In their application, Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone contended that the investigation carried out against them in the last one year was found to be “illegal” with the apex court ruling that Kerala had no jurisdiction in the matter.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir sought a response from the Centre on their application and posted the matter for hearing on Friday.

The apex court had in its verdict held that the accused would be tried in a special court to be set up by the Centre after consultation with the CJI. It had dismissed Italy’s plea to quash all criminal proceedings in view of lack of jurisdiction.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Harish Salve sought the court’s permission to allow them to travel to Italy to cast their votes, while the court referred to a statement by a former Italian prime minister that they could vote by writing as well.

The counsel, however, submitted that there was no provision for postal ballot in Italy. He promised that they would be back to face legal proceedings.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra sought time from the court to seek instruction.

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