"The Italian government's petition is not maintainable because of individuals can approach the court for violating fundamental rights, not a Republic like Italy. A similar petition is pending before the Kerala High Court, so the Supreme Court should dismiss the current petition," the Centre said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court today.
"The Indian Penal Code extends to an area of 200 nautical miles from the base line, so Kerala has the right to prosecute the marines," the affidavit also said.
The Italian government had approached the Supreme Court today challenging the Kerala government over its decision to arrest two Italian marines for killing two fishermen. In court, the Italian government had said that the case is a matter between two countries and that the Kerala government does not have the power to probe the case. It had also said that the ship, Enrica Lexie, was not in Indian waters when the incident took place.
The Supreme Court will take up the case tomorrow.
Two marines from the Italian vessel - Lattore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone - who had allegedly shot dead the two Kerala fishermen Valentine and Ajesh Binki, suspecting them to be pirates, were arrested and have been charged with murder. They are lodged in Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail.
Their arrests have become a matter of diplomatic dispute between India and Italy, which wants the marines to be sent home and tried there. Italy contends that the shooting took place in international waters. India refutes that claim. The marines say they mistook the fishermen for Somalian pirates.