The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the two Italian marines would not be tried under the provisions of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act that attracts the death penalty as maximum punishment.
A Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and J. Chelameswar recorded the statement to this effect from Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati. It was the A-G who filed a brief affidavit of the Home Ministry saying that the Law Ministry had opined that the provisions of the anti-piracy law were not applicable in this case.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for marines Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, said his clients had been in India awaiting trial for nearly two years. They are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012.
He pointed out that sanction for the prosecution was given under the anti-piracy law and this should be modified. The A-G said the sanction order would be modified accordingly and this was stated in the affidavit.
The A-G said the question which agency should investigate the matter had been settled by a three-judge Bench of the apex court on April 26, 2013.