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The dispute between Italy and India over which country has jurisdiction to try the Italian marines for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast could be resolved amicably under the terms of a British proposal under which the marines will be prosecuted under British law.
Since the Indian Penal Code was drafted in 1860 during the British Raj under the chairmanship of Thomas Macaulay and has since been adopted wholesale by the Republic of India with minimal changes, it was felt that transferring the case to a neutral country like Britain would not compromise Indian interests.
“Considering the productivity of Indian legislative bodies, it will take another 200 years before the Indian Penal Code is suitably ‘indigenized’ to be compatible with Indian social mores. So what’s the harm in trying these chaps under British law meanwhile?” reasoned Indian Law Minister, Ashwani Kumar.
Italy too may give its consent since British law is derived largely from Latin legal precepts, a legacy of the Roman Empire. “Where would we be without Latin phrases like suo moto and sui generis?” said British Prime Minister, David Cameron, “Not sure what exactly they mean but it sounds cool to use them.”
Many Indian leaders have also acknowledged the mountain of debt they owe Italy for Latin phrases. “Take the Latin phrase et cetera,” emotionally noted veteran Congress leader, Digvijaya Singh. “If it weren’t for that cute phrase, so many Indian students would have struggled to pass exams,” he said, recalling how ‘et cetera’ came to his rescue in his Xth standard board exams. “When asked to name five prominent Indian leaders in modern India, I answered ‘Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi etc etc’ which allowed me to scrape through.”
The Indian bureaucracy is beholden to Italy for the phrase ‘inter alia’ (among other things). “No Indian government report can be deemed complete until this phrase figures in it at least five times along with, inter alia, quaint Latin words such as vide and viz,” noted an IAS officer.
Dr. Manmohan Singh emphasized that the importance of ‘cetrus paribus’ (all other things being equal) in framing economic policy. “Without it, we economists would be toast, man,” he noted. “I personally make double sure that whatever policy I recommend to Sonia ji is caveated with ‘cetrus paibus’. And it earns me brownie points with her too.”
Another Latin phrase which is very popular in the higher echelons of power in New Delhi is ‘quid pro quo’. “I use it at least ten times a day. Things at our level only move on a quid pro quo basis, you see,” disclosed a Union Cabinet Minister to The Unreal Times on condition of anonymity.