July 10th, 2017
India is replacing its 1982 Anti-Hijacking Law with a new one that is coming into force after a government notification on 5 July, as has been reported by The Indian Express.
The new law prescribes:
- Capital punishment in the event of the death of “any person”, which is in contrast to the 1982 law according to which hijackers could be tried only in the event of the death of hostages, such as flight crew, passengers and security personnel.
- The ambit of the new law has been expanded to include the death of “security personnel on board” or “ground support staff” as well. The definition of ‘hijacking’, in the new law, includes making a threat, attempts or abetment to commit the offence. It also includes those who organises or directs any hijacking activities.
- In other cases of hijacking, the punishment would be extended to life imprisonment and a hefty fine, along with confiscation of movable and immovable property of the individual.
- The new law mandates the central government to confer powers of investigation, arrest and prosecution on any officer of the central government or National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapati Raju, introduced a bill in Rajya Sabha to repeal the 1982 Anti-Hijacking Law on 17 December 2014. Thereafter, it was referred to a parliamentary panel which gave its report in March 2015. The bill was passed on May 4, 2016, in the Upper House, and on May 9, 2016, in the Lok Sabha.