What is new anti-hijacking Bill: Explained

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The Modi Government is scheduled to present a new anti-hijacking Bill in the next Parliament Session. The Bill proposes stricter punishments including death penalty to check hijacking.

The present law on hijacking

  • Under present law, the maximum sentence awarded to a hijacker is life imprisonment.
  • Post Kandhar incident, the Government felt the need to amend existing Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982.
  • Till now, the offender has to be an Indian citizen or aircraft has to land in India then only a case can be registered.

What are the amendments?

  • The new law will increase the scope of punishment by awarding the death penalty.
  • Hijacking will lead to confiscating of hijacker's property under the new law.
  • It will enable India to register a case against hijackers if any of its citizens is hijacked anywhere in the world.
  • The new Bill also broadens the definition of hijacking.
  • An ‘in-service' clause has been introduced for the first time, which is the period when doors of plane are closed.
  • As per new law, the aircraft shall be considered to be ‘in-service' from the pre-flight operations started by ground staffer, till 24 hour after it has landed.
  • The new provision provides for speeding up hijacker's trial.
  • For this purpose, the State Government will be allowed to designate Sessions Court to hold such trials.
  • The proposed law would also give teeth to concerned agencies and security forces to immobilise an aircraft, prevent its take off.
  • A hostile plane could also be shot down if there is evidence that it could be used as a missile.

Major developments in connection with the Bill

  • The Bill was cleared by the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March, 2010.
  • Then Civil Aviation Minister introduced the legislation in Rajya Sabha in August 2010 and it was referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture which submitted its report in October the same year.
  • A group of Ministers headed by then Home Minister P Chidambaram had approved then Home Minister P Chidambaram had approved the legislation to include death sentence and life imprisonment.

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