Aug 26, New Delhi: India's Supreme Court today has observed that the issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen getting arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy needs to be resolved politically and diplomatically and the court cannot intervene in such matters.
A three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman has made this observation when a writ petition filed by two Tamil Nadu politicians seeking court's intervention to stop Sri Lanka Navy from arresting Tamil Nadu fishermen invading Sri Lankan waters was heard today.
The Court has dismissed the writ petitions filed by former DMK Member of Parliament A.K.S. Vijayan and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha M. Thambidurai seeking the court's intervention to resolve the issue, The Hindu reported.
The petitioners had asked the court to issue a directive to Indian authorities to take steps to secure the release of Tamil Nadu fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan jails and also to prevent fishermen from being attacked on high seas.
The Chief Justice has told the petitioners that the fishermen's issue is a political matter, in which court cannot intervene and should be raised in parliament.
"Can we ask the Sri Lankan Navy not to arrest Indian fishermen who stray into their waters? These are all political issues and you raise them in Parliament. We can't give a mandamus to resolve the issue as it falls within the domain of the government," the Chief Justice has said.
The Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi has pointed out to the court that one petitioner is a Deputy Speaker and the other is a former MP and the arrests by Sri Lankan Navy are matters to be sorted out by Parliament.
Responding to the counsel for Tamil Nadu, Additional Advocate-General Subramonium Prasad, who has submitted that the majority of such incidents (arrests) occurred when Tamil Nadu fishermen went near Katchatheevu area for fishing, the AG has pointed out that India ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1974.
"Katchatheevu became part of Sri Lanka in 1974. We have to go to war with Sri Lanka if we want to retrieve this island. Raising the issue in Parliament will be far more effective," the AG has said.
The Chief Justice has told the Counsel for Tamil Nadu that there is a new government at the Center and asked the petitioners to make a representation to the government with all the issues.
The AG said he would arrange a meeting for Tamil Nadu MPs to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to discuss the issue.