Travel restrictions on Italian ambassador removed by SC

image-02-daniele-mancini-300.jpg}New Delhi, April 2: The Supreme Court today withdrew the order restraining Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India.

The apex court had on March 23 restrained the Italian ambassador from leaving the country after the Italian government went back on the undertaking given by the envoy on the marines return.

The two Italian marines Salvatore Latorre and Massimiliano Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012, were permitted by the Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in last month's election.

However, Italy had reneged on its assurance to the court on sending back the two marines and that led to the case against the ambassador. Italy later gave in after the Indian government and the apex court took a firm stand with New Delhi warning that ties with Rome could be downgraded.

Referring to its interim order of March 14 and March 18 restraining the Italian envoy from leaving the country, the bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Anil Dave and Justice Vikramajit Sen said today: "Since petitioner two and three (two Italian marines) have returned within the stipulated time, the undertaking given by Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini has been satisfied.

"Accordingly we need not take further notice of the Note Verbale and the interim order passed stands rescinded."

The Italian embassy by its March 15 'note verbale' to the India's external affairs ministry had pointed to the obligation of the host country (India) to protect the diplomatic agent under the Vienna Convention.

Vacating the restraint order, the court also enquired from Attorney General GE Vahanvati as to what steps the government has taken to set up a special fast track court to try the two marines in pursuance of its January 18 order.

"The question is whether we have to pass an order modifying our earlier order (restraining Mancini from leaving the country)," Chief Justice Kabir observed as Vahanvati mentioned the developments that had taken place since the court's March 18 order.

"What about the special court. Why matter is being delayed. We passed the order so that matter is heard expeditiously. After all they (two marines) are from outside. They can't be kept for no rhyme and reason."

The court adjourned the matter till April 16 to enable Vahanvati to file an affidavit giving details of steps taken for setting up the special court.

Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was on Monday handed over the probe into killing of fishermen allegedly by the Italian marines.

The Home Ministry has taken the decision after the Supreme Court ruled that the Kerala government has no jurisdiction to prosecute the two marines.

OneIndia News

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