New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Friday told the Centre that Italy will have to pay compensations for two Italian marines who shot dead two fishermen on the Indian coast near Kerala, and only then will the court close the case. Also Read - No Coercive Action Against Facebook Chief in Delhi Riots Case Till Oct 15: Supreme Court to Delhi Assembly

A bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian asserted that Italy has to compensate the families of the victims. Also Read - Provide Food & Monetary Support Urgently to Starving 1.2 Lakh Sex Workers: SC Directs States

“Bring the cheques and the kin of victims here… Only then will we allow the withdrawal of prosecution,” CJI Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Union government. Also Read - 'Mother's Body Organs For Sale': Kerala Woman Offers to Sell All Her Organs to Pay Medical Bills of Her Children

The top court bench noted that it cannot think of any relief for the Italian marines till their prosecution is withdrawn in the Kerala court as the kins of the victims will have a problem. “They will have to be heard,” the court said.

Mehta replied that the Centre was willing to file a petition for withdrawing prosecution of the marines here as Italy is ready to prosecute them.

However, asking Mehta to file an application seeking impleadment of the families, the top court contended that the case can be closed only after hearing the kin of the deceased. The SC has given Centre a week’s time to get families to comment.

The case dates back to February 15, 2012, when two Indian fishermen aboard the fishing vessel St Antony were allegedly killed by the two Italian marines aboard the Italian tanker ‘Enrica Lexie’ off the coast of Kerala.

Subsequently, the Indian Navy intercepted the tanker and detained the Italian marines, triggering an international conflict over legal jurisdiction and functional immunity. The two marines were released and returned to Italy after two and four years, respectively. The Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations was then tasked to resolve the conflict over jurisdiction.

With IANS inputs