HC finds Italians plea defective, directs to file fresh affidavit

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday termed as 'defective', the plea filed by Italian marines challenging the jurisdiction in the ship firing incident.

"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.

Though the court found the petition defective it permitted the Italians to file a fresh affidavit.

The court observed that Rule 147 of the Kerala High Court Act of 1971 makes it clear that every application must be accompanied by an affidavit. DGP Asaf Ali had opposed the plea pointing out defects in the petition. The court observed that as per Ali's arguments the accused have signed off at Counsel’s office on February 22 but during that time the accused was 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 3O.

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