Experts for initiating criminal proceedings against marines

Experts for initiating criminal proceedings against marines

Even as there are reports that the attorney general of India has received a request from the Centre, seeking his opinion on the future course of action in the Italian marines case, legal experts said criminal proceedings can be initiated against the duo.

The decision by Italy not to send the two accused naval officers–Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone–has triggered strong reactions in the country with their counsel Harish Salve deciding not to represent them in the case.

Senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Parikh said the two marines should have been treated like other offenders. There was a fundamental error in permitting them to go out of the country, he said.

Parikh said: “Since an undertaking was given by the Italy ambassador to the Supreme Court, diplomatic immunity will not apply. Proceedings, including contempt of court, can be initiated against him. If Italy does not agree to send both the marines back to India, New Delhi can approach Italian judicial forum subject to the laws (of the land). It can be pointed out that a sovereign pledge was given by the ambassador and it must be honoured.”

Over and above all, diplomatic channels can always be utilised and Italy can be persuaded to send back both the accused, he added.

Noted criminal lawyer Sushil Kumar did not see a chance of raising the issue at any international forum. He says whatever course is available for an absconder of law or fugitive would follow in the Marines case as well. “The trial court has to be approached to declare them absconders. A red-corner notice can be issued and Interpol’s help can be sought to arrest them,” he said.

The apex court on February 22 allowed a plea by the marines to go back to their country for four weeks to cast their votes in the general election. Their period for stay in Italy is set to expire on March 23.

“They shall travel to Italy, remain in Italy and return to India under the care, supervision and control of the Italian Republic and shall also report to Chankyapuri Police Station, New Delhi, both at the time of their departure and on their return.

The Republic of Italy will provide the address and contact details of the petitioners  to the Chankyapuri Police Station, New Delhi, during their stay in Italy. The petitioners shall also not leave the Republic of Italy, except for return to India,” the apex court had said.