Asks A-G to file affidavit on status of special court
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rescinded its order restraining Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country following the return on March 22 of the two marines accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last.
A Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil R. Dave and Vikramajit Sen vacated its March 14 order by which it restrained the Ambassador from leaving India after Rome refused to send back the marines.
The Bench, in its order, said: “since the petitioners 2 and 3 [the two marines] have returned within the stipulated time [March 22], the undertaking given by the Ambassador has been satisfied. Accordingly, we need not take any further note of the note verbale. The interim order directing the Ambassador not to leave the country stands rescinded.”
While adjourning the case till April 16, the Bench asked Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati to file an affidavit on the status of the special court for trying the offence on a fast track basis in terms of the January 18 judgment. Earlier the A-G explained the developments subsequent to the March 18 order. He said the two marines had returned to the country. The CJI asked him “why there was delay in the setting up of the special court. Our intention to set up special court was to hear the case early and to fast track the trial.” When the A-G said “the matter is being discussed at the ministerial level,” the CJI said “we want the matter to be heard expeditiously.”
Referring to media reports, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Italian government, objected to the case being investigated by the NIA. He said the CMM court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
When Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said he had filed a contempt petition, the CJI asked him “Who are you? What is your locus standi in this case?” Dr. Swamy replied that he was a petitioner in person. The CJI said “you have no right to argue till we give you that right.” When Dr. Swamy said “there seems to be some collusion,” the CJI took exception to it. Dr. Swamy clarified that “when I said collusion it means something outside where they [government] have given an assurance that there will be no death sentence.” However, the Bench did not allow him to argue.