Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill Passed In Rajya Sabha
The bill aims to strengthen India's maritime security, enable the nation to fulfill its international obligations and improve our global standing.
The Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday (22 December). It was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on 9 December 2019.
It enables Indian authorities to take action against piracy on the high seas. The 2019 bill provides for the prevention of maritime piracy and prosecution of persons for such piracy-related crimes.
It will apply to all parts of the sea, adjacent to and beyond the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone of India — beyond 200 nautical miles from the coastline.
The Standing Committee on External Affairs (2021) examined the 2019 bill and suggested certain amendments in its report (submitted in February 2021).
Moving the bill for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha, Jaishankar said it has provisions for the prevention of maritime piracy, will strengthen India's maritime security and give it an effective legal instrument to combat the menace.
The bill will also enable India to fulfill its international obligations and improve the country's standing at global forums.
'Ensuring maritime security is key to safeguard India's security and economic wellbeing,' Jaishankar said.
Out of 18 recommendations of the Standing Committee, 14 have been incorporated suitably in the bill, he said, adding that three recommendations were only observations which too have been duly noted.
'The bill addresses the issue of death penalty as an exceptional case and the quantum of punishment envisaged in in line with the gravity of offences,' the Minister said.
He also highlighted that India has taken a lead on issues of maritime security at multilateral forums. 'Passing of this bill will enhance our global credentials and standing in the comity of nations,' the Minister said.
'It will strengthen our maritime security including the safety of our maritime trade routes and the well-being of Indian seafarers in international water,' he added.
Highlights Of The Bill:
1. It enables Indian authorities to take action against piracy in the high seas. It brings into law, the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea. It applies to the sea beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is, beyond 200 nautical miles from India’s coastline.
2. Piracy is any illegal act of violence, detention or destruction against a ship, aircraft, person or property, for private purposes, by the crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft.
3. Piracy also includes inciting and intentionally facilitating such acts of violence, and voluntarily participating in the operation of a pirate ship or aircraft.
4. Committing an act of piracy will be punishable with: (i) life imprisonment; or (ii) death, if the act of piracy causes or seeks to cause death.
5. Participating, organising, aiding, supporting, attempting to commit, and directing others to participate in an act of piracy will be punishable with up to 14 years of imprisonment, and a fine.
(With inputs from PTI)
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