Reach pact with Italian government for payment of compensation of Rs.1 crore

The legal heirs of two fishermen killed by two marines onboard the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie filed a petition in the Kerala High Court on Monday seeking to withdraw the affidavits and submissions made by them against Italy's plea for quashing the First Information Report registered against the marines.

In their petition, Doramma, wife of one of the killed fishermen, Valentine, and her two minor children along with sisters of Ajeesh Pink, another victim, submitted that they were not pursuing their pleadings and submissions in view of a settlement reached between them and the Italian government. The petition said that they were giving up the pleadings and withdrawing them in absolute terms. They were also withdrawing even the oral submissions made during the hearing of the case.

The legal heirs got themselves impleaded in the case when the petition filed by Italian Consul General Giampaolo Cutillio and the two marines challenging the criminal case filed against the marines had come up before the High Court. Backing the State government arguments, Counsel for the legal heirs had argued that the State government had the jurisdiction to register a case against the marines as the shooting down took place in the Indian territorial waters. They also contended that the marines had committed an offence under the Suppression of Unlawful Act of Violence against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act 2001(SUA). The Advocate General had then told the court that the offence could be incorporated in the FIR during the course of the investigation. The police had to comply with certain procedure before incorporating the offence under this Act, he had said.

Counsel for the sisters of Ajeesh Pink, V.M. Shyam Kumar, told the The Hindu that the petition was filed to facilitate the settlement reached between the Italian government and the legal heirs for payment of a compensation of Rs.1 crore each to the two families. Meanwhile, Advocate General K.P. Dandapani said that if they withdrew their pleadings, it would not affect the case.

The families had last week obtained the permission of the High Court to approach the Lok Adalat for getting a legal approval for the settlement. They had agreed to withdraw unconditionally all the legal proceedings and all allegations in various petitions pending in courts, including the High Court.

The court of Justice P.S. Gopinathan has already reserved its order on the petition of the Italian government seeking to quash the criminal case.

The Italian representatives and family members would place the agreement before the Lok Adalat, consisting of former High Court Judge Justice K. John Mathew and former District Judge Sreelatha Devi, functioning in the High Court on April 24.