Supreme Court had directed Centre to expedite constitution of special court on February 22

A special court to try the two Italian marines involved in the killing of two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last has not come into existence though the Supreme Court passed an order in this regard two months ago.

On January 18, a Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) held that Kerala had no jurisdiction to investigate the “Italian marines shooting incident” that took place on February 15, 2012. It noted that only the Union of India had the jurisdiction to proceed with the probe and trial of the two marines. The court, therefore, asked the Centre, in consultation with the CJI, to set up a special court to try Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone.

During the hearing of the case on February 22, when the two marines sought to visit their country to cast their votes, Additional Solicitor-General P.P. Malhotra said steps were being taken in this regard.

This prompted the CJI to ask Mr. Malhotra why the government was dragging its feet and observe that if only a special court was set up as directed, the case would have come to a conclusion.

The same day, in an order, said: “The ASG is unable to tell us today as to whether the procedure for constitution of the special court directed to be set up by the Central government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India has been initiated or not. In the event [that] steps have not been taken to constitute the special court, as directed, the Central government is directed to do so without any further delay.”

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