New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday declined to alter the order of Kerala High Court’s registrar general asking the owner of Italian ship Enrica Lexie to furnish a demand draft of Rs.3 crore before the vessel could leave Kochi port.
The Italian ship was detained at Kochi after two of its marines shot dead two Indian fishermen Feb 15, suspecting them to be pirates.
The apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice H.L. Gokhale declined to alter the order of the registrar general but took exception to the manner in which he did not act according to its order and changed it.
The apex court May 2 said that furnishing of the bond and the release of the ship would be to the satisfaction of the registrar general of the high court.
When the representatives of the ship approached the registrar general he asked them to furnish a demand draft of Rs.3 crore, instead of bond.
Though the owners of the Italian ship secured the release of the ship by furnishing the demand draft, they moved the apex court alleging that the registrar general did not act in accordance with the top court’s orders.
The apex court said: “We don’t approve of his conduct. Being a senior judicial officer he must know our order. We disapprove of his conduct.”
The apex court declined to overturn the registrar general’s order as the owner of the ship had already furnished the draft.
Appearing for the registrar general, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingh said that the registrar general literally read the part of the order “to his satisfaction” and felt that a bond by a foreign company would be a meaningless guarantee.
The apex court May 2 allowed the Italian ship to leave Kochi port after furnishing a bond of Rs.3 crore as guarantee of the ship and for securing the presence of the master of the ship and five crew members as and when they were called upon by the trial court.