New Anti-Hijacking Law to Have Capital Punishment

The anti-hijacking law has been made tougher and harder, which now includes death sentences as a punishment, said media reports.

The proposal moved by civil aviation ministry is expected to be considered by the Cabinet to amend Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982 so that it could be made more stringent to prevent hijackers from using an aircraft as a missile, reports said.

With terror threats heightened, a group of ministers lead by home minister P Chidambaram had cleared the ‘tougher’ proposals paving the way for civil aviation ministry to move the amendments for Cabinet approval.

Following approval by the Cabinet, section of 4 of the 1982 Act, which provides for life imprisonment and fine for hijacking, could be amended to include death penalty also.

The government is expected to present the proposed amendments before Parliament in the budget session itself when the House meets again after the recess, said reports.

Also, a new clause will be incorporated to cover the aspect of conspiracy to hijack an aircraft which doesn’t exist in the 1982 Act, said reports.

It may be mentioned that the fresh move to ensure legal sanction to anti-hijacking policy comes nearly five year after the Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared it in August, 2005.

The policy permits shooting down of a ‘hostile plane if there is conclusive evidence that it is likely to be used as a missile to blow up strategic establishments’, said reports.

The policy recognizes that the hijacked plane can be changed into a ‘hostile’ entity and also provides for surrounding of hijacked planes by fighter aircrafts in Indian airspace, said reports.

Under the law, Indian Air Force will be able to take fast measures for scrambling fighters to defend and guide hijacked aircraft and force land it in an Indian airport, report said.

To steer clear of Kandahar-like situations, no negotiations whatsoever, under the policy, will be possible with hijackers.

The policy talks about immobilisation of an aircraft and not allowing it to take off if the hijacking takes place on Indian soil, besides scrambling of IAF fighters if the hijacked plane remains in Indian airspace.

(Based on internet reports)

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