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POLICY WATCH : ANTI-MARITIME PIRACY BILL

Dec 13, 2019

Brief Analysis


1. INTRODUCTION

  • The Bill is aimed at promoting the safety and security of India’s maritime trade, and the safety of its crew members.

  • It seeks to provide stringent punishment, including the death penalty or life imprisonment, to those involved in piracy at sea. B. n recent times, the menace of piracy is growing.

  • The Gulf of Aden, which separates Somalia and Yemen, has seen a major spurt in attacks by pirates operating from Somalia since 2008.

  • This route is used by 2000 ships each month for trade between Asia and Europe and the East coast of Africa.

2. INSIGHTS


  • The Bill will apply to all parts of the sea adjacent to and beyond the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone of India. Exclusive Economic Zone refers to the area of sea to which India has exclusive rights for economic activities.

  • Bill defines piracy as any illegal act of violence, detention, or destruction committed against a ship, aircraft, person or property, for private purposes.

  • An act of piracy will be punishable with: (i) imprisonment for life; or (ii) death, if the act of piracy includes attempted murder, or causes death.

  • The presumption of guilt will be on the accused if (i) the accused is in possession of arms, explosives. (ii) there is evidence of use of force against the ship’s crew or passengers (iii) there is evidence of the intended use of bombs and arms against the crew, passengers or cargo of a ship.

  • The central government, may notify the Sessions Courts to be the Designated Courts under this Bill. It may also notify the territorial jurisdiction of each Designated Court.

  • The government is bringing the law as part of commitment made by India while signing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982. The UNCLOS was ratified by India in 1995.

  • India does not have a separate domestic legislation on piracy.

  • Our penal codes are only applicable upto the territorial waters

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