Italian marines case | Supreme Court to hear on August 2 claim for compensation by boat crew

Survivors of shooting incident say they have suffered moral harm

July 30, 2021 02:16 pm | Updated 02:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI

File photo of the Supreme Court of India.

File photo of the Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court on July 30 agreed to hear on August 2 a claim for compensation for “moral harm” made by the crew of fishing boat St. Antony , who survived the hail of bullets from two Italian marines detailed aboard Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala nine years ago.

They are the 10 members of the fishing boat crew who escaped death. Two of their friends on the boat were killed in the shooting .

They said not a penny from the ₹10 crore in compensation paid by the Republic of Italy had reached them. Their case came up before a Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian.

Also read | Fishermen killing: SC orders closure of court proceedings in India against two Italian marines

On June 15, the Supreme Court had agreed to close criminal proceedings against marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone after Italy paid ₹10 crore. The order came on the basis of a decision by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea 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.

Of the ₹10 crore, ₹4 crore each was allotted to the families of the two dead fishermen. The remaining ₹2 crore was set aside for the fishing boat owner.

The 10 survivors argued that the bullets had 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.

The 10 of them were not paid anything. In fact, they said the Kerala government had already written to them on July 24, implying they would not be paid any compensation out of ₹10 crore.

Also read: Our full coverage of the Italian Marines issue

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

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 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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