Italian marines case: SC asks HC not to disburse compensation to boat owner


The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Kerala High Court not to disburse any amount from Rs 2 crore, which was allocated for owner of fishing boat “St Antony”, on which two fishermen were killed by Italian marines in 2012.

A bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian was hearing a plea by seven surviving fishermen, who were also on the fishing vessel, seeking compensation. The fishermen contended that they were also eligible for compensation and claimed they were also injured in the incident. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta suggested this plea can be sent to the Kerala High Court, which has been asked to monitor the disbursement of compensation. The top court observed that notice to the vessel owner is required, because any modification in the order will impact his share in the compensation.

“The notice of this application be given to the boat owner”, said the bench. It also asked the Kerala High Court not to disburse any amount to the boat owner in terms of the June 15, 2021 order.

In their plea, the fishermen have sought a stay on the disbursement of the compensation amount till their claims are also decided.

The top court on June 15, had closed the criminal proceedings in India against the two Italian marines, Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Gironew. They were accused of killing two Indian fishermen. The Italian had agreed to pay Rs 10 core in compensation to the heirs of the deceased and the boat owner.

The top court noted that India had agreed to the compensation of Rs 10 crore and republic of Italy has deposited it, which has been transferred to the top court’s registry. “We are satisfied with the compensation and the ex-gratia paid over and above earlier. This is a fit case to close all proceedings in India under Article 142 of the Constitution,” said the top court then.

The top court had ordered transfer of Rs 10 crore to Kerala High Court registry out of which Rs 4 crore each should be paid to the two victims’ families and Rs 2 crore to the boat owner.