Centre on Saturday distanced itself from Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval’s submission in the Supreme Court that India has no jurisdiction to detain an Italian ship from which marines shot dead two Indian fishermen, asserting that it happened in Indian waters.
“Government is clear that the incident happened in Indian waters,” Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan told reporters in Chennai.
“It might be his personal opinion,” Mr. Vasan said, responding to Mr. Raval’s submission that the ship Enrica Lexie cannot be detained as it was not within Indian territorial waters when the two marines aboard it had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen on February 15.
The ASG’s submission in the apex court had drawn sharp reactions in Kerala with the family of the victims, the Latin Catholic Church and fishery unions expressing shock and anguish over the matter.
Seizing on the development, the critics said ASG’s submission amounted to reinforcing Italy’s assertion that Indian courts had no jurisdiction to try the case since the alleged incident happened when the ship was in international waters.
The ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala also found itself in a bind as ASG’s submission contradicted the stand of the government headed by Oommen Chandy which firmly held that India has every legal competence to try the case under its law.