SC permits Italian marines to go to Italy to cast vote

Two Italian marines has been permitted by the Supreme Court permitted , accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala, to travel to their country to cast vote in the upcoming elections there.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir told that the accused marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, would travel to Italy under the control and custody of the ambassador of Italy in India, to cast their ballot in the elections scheduled for February 24 and 25.

The bench also comprising justices AR Dave and Vikramajit Sen allowed the plea of the two marines and the Italian government to allow them to travel for four weeks to Italy.

“We are inclined to allow the prayer,” the bench told that while asking the Italian ambassador to file an additional affidavit on behalf of the Republic of Italy.

While allowing the plea, the bench noted that under the Italian law, the marines are not entitled to cast their votes through postal ballot.

The bench told that the marines are only allowed to travel to Italy and remain there and will have to return to India.

During the hearing, the court was told that the trial court in Kollam, Kerala, has not handed over the passports of the two marines to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in accordance with the January 18 order of the apex court.

The bench was told that passports have been mailed on February 16 and it has not yet been received by the MHA.

Taking this fact into consideration, the bench permitted that in case the passports are not received, the marines can travel on the temporary documents and the MHA will inform the authorities at IGI Airport and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) about this order.

The two marines were on board the Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’, when they had shot dead the two fishermen on February 15, last year.

The apex court also said that the marines before leaving and after arriving back in India shall report to Chanakyapuri Police Station in accordance with the apex court’s January 18 order.

On January 18, the apex court had turned down the Italian government’s plea that the Indian courts had no jurisdiction in the case and had held that the two marines should be tried by the Centre by constituting a special court to conduct their trial.

“The incident of firing from the Italian vessel on the Indian shipping vessel having occurred within the Contiguous Zone, the Union of India is entitled to prosecute the two Italian marines under the criminal justice system prevalent in the country,” the bench had told.

It had directed that the two be shifted to Delhi and would remain under it’s ‘custody’ till the special court is set up.

The court had said that the Kerala government did not have the jurisdiction to prosecute the two foreign marines and it is to be done by the Centre in the special court to be set up after consulting the CJI.

The court had also said that all the conditions imposed on them by the Kerala court, while granting them bail will remain till the special court is set up and the marines will mark their presence at least once a week before Chanakyapuri Police Station.

High Court accepts Delhi Police status report after apology

A fresh status report disclosing the names of police officials patrolling the area in Delhi which a 23-year-old girl was gang-raped in a moving bus here, has been accepted by the Delhi High Court after the city police tendered apology for not disclosing the names earlier.

“I tender my unconditional apology for not giving names of the policemen who were on duty in the PCR vans concerned, though their names have figured in the charge sheet as they are witnesses in the case,” Dayan Krishnan, counsel for Delhi Police told a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan before filing the fresh status report.

“The status report says that police personnel deployed on the PCR vans are the witnesses in the case and the charge sheet has their names. So, what was the difficulty in showing their names in the status report? You should have told us this earlier,” the bench also comprising Justice VK Jain remarked.

The court had taken strong exception on Wednesday to the fact that only a junior police officer was suspended in connection with the case and that senior ones, including the police commissioner, were not made accountable.

“Why only ACP, why not DCP, why not the commissioner have been put to task?” the bench had remarked.

During the hearing, the court also said, “We direct the police officials to ensure removal of dark film/tinted glasses and curtains from the vehicles in Delhi without any delay.”

The court, meanwhile, asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to take immediate steps to increase the number of PCR vans in the Capital to ensure better safety of citizens, including women.

“We are also of the view that the Central government should look into the said issue and total number of PCR vans be increased from existing 617,” the court said adding that the role of such PCR vans should also be revisited to use them for proper patrolling purposes also.