SC rejects marine’s plea to extend stay in Italy

While one of the marines, accused of killing Indian fishermen off Kerala in 2012, sought permission to extend his stay in Italy for heart surgery, the other wanted to travel there for Christmas.

December 16, 2014 12:02 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 11:50 am IST - New Delhi

In a blow to Italy’s efforts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday denied permission to Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre to stay back in his country for two more months for heart surgery and his fellow marine Salvattore Girone to travel to Italy for Christmas.

Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu said: “The Indian victims also have rights.”

The court said the probe into the 2012 killing of Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast was not over. “The yardstick should be the same for everyone” and “the system should work.”

In September 2014, the Bench led by Justice Dattu had taken a “humanitarian” view of Mr. Latorre’s medical condition — after he suffered a brain stroke — and agreed to let him travel to Italy for four months. He is scheduled to return on January 16, 2015.

Senior advocate Soli Sorabjee, counsel for the marine, submitted that Mr. Latorre was due for a heart surgery on January 8 and wanted an extension of two to three months. “No. Please ask him to come back,” the CJI told Mr. Sorabjee. The CJI orally observed that it was on Mr. Latorre’s instance that the probe into the murders and trial in the case were stopped. When Mr. Sorabjee pleaded that no one was going to be prejudiced by a gap of just two more months, the CJI responded that this was not a question of prejudice but that of “applying the same yardstick for everybody.”

“As you have a right, the victims too have a right. Leave alone the trial, even the investigation is not complete. Charge sheet is not filed. Sorry,” the CJI said.

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