New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday said that the Kerala Government has no jurisdiction to prosecute Italian marines who had allegedly killed two Indian fishermen.
It said that the prosecution of Italian marines must be conducted only by the Central Government as the shooting of two Indian fishermen by Italian naval guards is a federal crime.
The apex court also said that a special court must be set up by the Centre after consulting the Chief Justice of India for hearing the case against the marines.
The Italian Marines were arrested on February 19 last year for shooting to death two Indian fishermen - Ajesh Binki (25) and Jelestine (45) - from merchant vessel 'Enrica Lexie' off Alapuzha coast, 'mistaking' them for Somali pirates.
Both the Marines and the Italian government had petitioned the Supreme Court to set them free. In their petitions, the marines argued that Kerala Police have no jurisdiction to register case against them as the incident took place in international waters and not in Indian waters.
The Centre has also toed the Kerala government's line by arguing two Italian marines enjoyed no sovereign immunity and were liable to face prosecution under the Indian laws.
The case came to Supreme Court after the Kerala High Court rejected their plea to be discharged from the case.
The two Italian Marines are currently out on bail and staying in Kollam.
On December 22, the marines had left for Rome after the Kerala High Court permitted them to go for Christmas for two weeks. They came back on January 4.