Court asks Italians to file fresh plea

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday found defective the plea filed by the Italian marines challenging the jurisdiction of the firing incident that claimed the lives of two fishermen on February 15.

“Since the affidavit filed by the two accused, Massimilano Latorre, chief master sergeant, and Sergeant Salvatore Girone of the San Marco Regiment and the Italian Consul General Mr Giampaolo Cutillio seeking to quash the FIR registered against the accused is not attested as per rules, the petition is not acceptable," Justice P.S. Gopinathan observed.

The Italians were however allowed to file a fresh affidavit. The court observed that Rule 147 of the Kerala High Court Act 1971 makes it clear that every application must be accompanied by an affidavit.

While the accused have signed the affidavit, DGP Asaf Ali had opposed the plea arguing that the accused signed at the Counsel’s office on February 22 when they were in police custody. The court during the initial hearing had asked the petitioners to file an affidavit rectifying the mistakes.

Pursuant to this the petitioners on March 2 submitted an affidavit stating that they sought the Kollam judicial first class magistrate court’s permission to execute a vakkalat.

The vakkalat was executed on February 22. However, Neendakara CI R. Jayarajan submitted that no sanction or permission was granted on that day to obtain the signature of the accused. The court recorded the submission and observed: “In the light of the above affidavit by Jayarajan I am not inclined to accept the affidavit filed by the petitioners.”The court had earlier reserved the petition filed by the Italians for orders but when the case came up for hearing, the court passed the order and adjourned the matter to March 30.

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