The Supreme Court will hear the Italian government’s plea for relaxation of bail conditions of its marine, Sergeant Major Salvatore Girone, so that he can return to his country. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Girone is held in India, being one of the two Italian marines who are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. Chief Master Sergeant Massimiliano Latorre and Sergeant Major Girone were then serving as security personnel on an Italian oil tanker MT Enrica Lexie crossing the Indian Ocean.

An apex court vacation bench of Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to hear the plea after Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand supported the plea by the Italian government for relaxing the bail conditions so that Girone can travel to Italy while remaining under the court’s authority.

The Italian government sought the relaxation of bail conditions in the wake of April 29 order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) asking India and Italy to cooperate in relaxing the bail conditions so that Girone could return to his country during the pendency of the arbitration proceedings before it.

“Italy and India shall cooperate, including in proceedings before the Supreme Court of India, to achieve a relaxation of bail conditions of Sergeant Girone so as to give effect to the concept of consideration of humanity, so that Sergeant Girone, while remaining under the authority of Supreme Court of India, may return to Italy during the present Annex VII arbitration,” Annex VII arbitral tribunal had said in its April 29 order.

The tribunal had also said that Italy was under obligation to return Girone to India in case it holds that India has jurisdiction over him in respect of the Enrica Lexie incident.

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