New Delhi :  The dispute over invoking anti-piracy law against two Italians marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen, will be adjudicated by the Supreme Court with Italy not satisfied with the government’s move to drop the charge which attracts death penalty.

A bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan asked Attorney General G E Vahahvati to take instruction for the Centre on Italian government’s plea challenging invocation of anti-piracy law against its two marines.

“Either the government decides on the issue or we will do it,” the bench said after the AG informed the court that the Centre has agreed to drop charge which attracts death sentence but the marines will be tried under other provisions of SUA (Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf).

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Italian government and the marines, submitted that the Centre cannot impose SUA as it is against the apex court verdict of January last year in which it was held that proceedings against the marines can be held only under the Maritime Zone Act, IPC, CrPC and UNCLOS.

The bench after hearing both sides posted the case for final hearing on February 18 and asked the Centre to make its stand clear. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Italian government challenging invoking of anti-terrorism law SUA, saying it is against the order of the apex court which allowed proceedings only under the Maritime Zone Act, IPC, CrPC and UNCLOS.

The joint petition, filed by Ambassador of Italy Daniele Mancini along with Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, also sought direction to the Centre and NIA to expedite the proceedings in the case or discharge the marines.

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