Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017: Admiralty Bill 2016, The Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016

Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017: Admiralty (Jurisdiction And Settlement Of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016, The Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016

Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will conduct the civil services (CS) preliminary examination on June 18 this year. It is one of the most esteemed and toughest exams in the country. With a success rate of 0.1- 0.3 percent of the total percentage of candidates who apply, it is really difficult to nail the examination.

Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017: Representation of People Bill, Aadhaar Act 2016

This article covers some of the most important Bills and Amendments which will help you for your upcoming IAS Prelims Preparation.


Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017

Today we will discuss the next two bills. Below mentioned is the explanation of the the next two topics i.e Admiralty Bill, 2016, The Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016.

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Admiralty (Jurisdiction And Settlement Of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016

The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha on November 21, 2016 by the Minister of State for Shipping, Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya. The proposal to enact to this bill was forwarded by Union Ministry of Shipping to repeal five archaic admiralty statutes. Admiralty jurisdiction is related to the powers of the High Courts in respect of claims associated with transport by sea and navigable waterways.


  • The Bill consolidates the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues.
  • This legislative proposal will also fulfil a long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity.
  • It revokes five obsolete British statues on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters. They are (i) Admiralty Court Act, 1840 (ii) Admiralty Court Act, 1861, (iii) Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890, (iv) Colonial Courts of Admiralty (India) Act, 1891, and (v) Provisions of the Letters Patent, 1865.

Salient Features

Confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India, thus extending their upto territorial waters. The jurisdiction will be extendable by the Union Government notification upto exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or any other maritime zone or islands constituting part of India.

Admiralty Jurisdiction

Admiralty law or maritime law is a distinct body of law governing maritime offenses, comprising of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law. It deals with matters including marine commerce, marine navigation, shipping, sailors, and the transportation of passengers and goods by sea. The jurisdiction with respect to maritime claims under the Bill will vest with the respective High Courts and will extend up to the territorial waters of their respective jurisdictions. The central government may extend the jurisdiction of these High Courts. Currently admiralty jurisdiction applies to the Bombay, Calcutta and Madras High Courts. The Bill further extend this to the High Courts of Karnataka, Gujarat, Orissa, Kerala, Hyderabad, and any other High Court notified by the central government.

Maritime claims:  The High Courts may exercise jurisdiction on maritime claims arising out of conditions including

Maritime Claims include:

  1. Claims relating to proprietary interest in a ship
  2. Any matter relating to a ship prior to 1991
  3. Any action on any law relating to a ship involving limitation of liability;
  4. Claims involving liability for Oil pollution damage
  5. Matters arising from shipping and navigation on any inland waters declared as national waterway
  6. Matters arising within a Federal Port including claims for loss of or damage to goods
  7. Any documentary credit arrangement involving importation and exportation of goods from and into Nigeria in a ship; the matters arising from the Constitutions and Powers of the Nigerian Ports Authority or the National Maritime Authority
  8. Criminal causes arising from any matter referred to above; and
  9. Any monetary or non-monetary agreement relating to carriage of goods by sea.

While determining maritime claims under the specified conditions, the courts may settle any outstanding accounts between parties with regard to the vessel.  They may also direct that the vessel or a share of it be sold.  With regard to a sale, courts may determine the title to the proceeds of such sale.

Priority of maritime claims:  Among all claims in an admiralty proceeding, highest priority will be given to maritime claims, followed by mortgages on the vessel, and all other claims.  Within maritime claims, the highest priority will be given to claims for wages due with regard to employment on the vessel.  This would be followed by claims with regard to loss of life or personal injury in connection with the operation of the vessel.  Such claims will continue to exist even with the change of ownership of the vessel.

Jurisdiction over a person:  Courts may exercise admiralty jurisdiction against a person with regard to maritime claims.  However, the courts will not entertain complaints against a person in certain cases.  These include:

(i) damage, or loss of life, or personal injury arising out of collision between vessels that was caused in India, or

(ii) non-compliance with the collision regulations of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 by a person who does not reside or carry out business in India.  Further, Courts will not entertain action against a person until any case against them with regard to the same incident in any court outside India has ended.

Arrest of vessel:  The courts may order for the arrest of any vessel within their jurisdiction for providing security against a maritime claim which is the subject of a proceeding.  They may do so under various reasons such as:

(i) owner of the vessel is liable for the claim,

(ii) the claim is based on mortgage of the vessel, and

(iii) the claim connects to ownership of the vessel, etc.

Assessors:  The central government will appoint a list of assessors qualified and experienced in admiralty and maritime matters.  The central government will also determine the duties of assessors, and their fee.  Typically, assessors assist the judges in determining rates and claims in admiralty proceedings.

Appeals:  Any judgments made by a single Judge of the High Court can be appealed against to a Division Bench of the High Court.  Further, the Supreme Court may, on application by any party, transfer an admiralty proceeding at any stage from one High Court to any other High Court.  The latter High Court will proceed with the matter from the stage where it stood at the time of the transfer.


The Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016

  • The Anti-Hijacking Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju on December 17 in 2014.
  • The bill repeals the Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982 and implements the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, 1970, and its Protocol Supplementary, signed on September 10, 2010.
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The aim of the act is to broaden the scope of the term ‘hijacking’ by including in its definition even the making of a threat to commit an offence of hijacking. It is now also an offence to unlawfully and intentionally cause any person to receive a threat under circumstances that indicate that the threat is credible.

Additionally, the amended definition includes within its scope those who organise or direct others to commit the offence and also holds such individuals guilty of abetment of hijacking.

Salient Features

  • An aircraft is considered to be in service from the time it is prepared for a flight by the crew and ground staff until 24 hours after its landing
  • Under the bill, any aid to the hijacker will be prosecuted for abetting the crime
  • Making a credible threat to commit hijack is also an offence
  • Directing someone else to commit or agreeing with the crime is also an offence under the Anti-Hijacking Bill
  • Hijacking is a non-bailable crime under the bill.
  • It provides capital punishment for hijackers and conspirators/ abettors in cases where the offence results in death of a hostage or security personnel;
  • It widens provisions related to jurisdiction
  • It confers power to attach or seize property on the investigating officers and courts designated to deal with hijacking cases.

Over here we conclude our article on Crucial Bills And Amendments for IAS Prelims 2017. Stay tuned with us for the rest of the topic that we will discuss day by day. 

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