Enrica Lexie case: fisher crew seek compensation

A file picture of Supreme Court of India.   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The owner of the fishing boat which came under fire from two Italian marines detailed aboard the Italian flagship Enrica Lexie in 2012 off the Kerala waters sought more time in the Supreme Court on Monday to reply to his crew who wants a share from the ₹2 crore compensation he got from the Italian government.

Also Read: SC stays disbursement of ₹2 crore to owner of fishing boat

Ten of his crew members have approached the apex court, saying they have every right to get their share from boat owner Fredy’s compensation. They said they too had suffered “moral harm” and trauma after escaping death narrowly.

These 10 survived while two fishermen on the boat died that day from the bullets. Italy paid the families of the two men ₹4 crore each.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice Indira Banerjee, the 10 survivors had complained that they had not got even a penny from the ₹10 crore compensation paid by the Republic of Italy. In fact, they were not even made parties in the case.

They said they wanted their share of the compensation from the ₹2 crore given to Mr. Fredy. In August the apex court had stayed the disbursement of Mr. Fredy's compensation.

On Monday, the Bench agreed to a request made by advocate A. Karthik, for Mr. Fredy, for more time. The court adjourned the case by six weeks.

In an earlier hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had suggested that the crew could directly approach the High Court with their plea for a portion of the owner’s compensation.

Mr. Mehta had said the apex court Bench, instead of taking up the matter directly, ought to ask the High Court to implead the boat owner and the 10 crew members and decide their case there.

Also Read: Timeline: The Italian Marines Case

On June 15, the Supreme Court had agreed to close criminal proceedings against marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, after Italy paid over the ₹10 crore. The Supreme Court order came on the basis of a decision by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in May 2020 to have the duo stand trial in Italy. The tribunal had ordered Italy to recompense the loss of lives, physical harm, material damage and moral harm caused by the shooting.

The 10 survivors had argued that the bullets damaged the outer body of the boat. They said the boat was worth only ₹10 lakh. The boat owner got ₹17 lakh as ex gratia payment, along with ₹1 crore paid to the families of their two dead colleagues, in 2012.

They had said a payment of ₹2 crore exclusively for the fishing boat owner was “not justified”. They urged the court to permit them equal shares from this amount.

They submitted that the international tribunal had acknowledged the fact that “moral harm” caused by the shooting incident should be duly compensated.

“The compensation for moral harm suffered by the Captain and the crew of St Antony has escaped the attention of the court. The crew was not represented in the court hearing on June 15… On the account of the shock and grief, permanent moral harm has been caused to us. We are afraid to venture into the sea after the shooting incident,” their application said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:44:29 PM |

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