The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a special leave petition against a Kerala High Court order detaining Italian ship M.T. Enrica Lexie, following the killing of two fishermen by two Italian navy marines on board the ship.

A single judge of the High Court had directed the police to permit the ship to continue its voyage on furnishing a bond for Rs.3 crore and an undertaking before the Deputy Conservator, Cochin Port Trust, that the vessel, master, and the crew would be produced as and when required by the authorities concerned. However, a Division Bench stayed that order.

The Bench was acting on appeals filed by a legal heir of one of the killed fishermen.

The Division Bench held that in view of the seizure report filed under 102(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code by the police before the magistrate court concerned, the proper course for the ship agent would have been to proceed under Section 457 Cr.P.C. seeking to release the vessel from the custody of the police. While permitting the vessel to approach the magistrate court, the Bench asked the magistrate court to apply its mind to the facts and circumstances of the case while dealing with the application.

The appeal by the vessel is directed against this order.

The SLP said the High Court had committed an error in entertaining an appeal from the legal heir of the deceased who was not a party to the proceedings. It said once the gun was seized from the ship, there was no ground to detain the vessel and that it should be allowed to continue its voyage. The SLP prayed for quashing the impugned order and an interim stay of its operation. The SLP is to be mentioned before a Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and H.L. Gokhale on Tuesday for stay of the impugned order.

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