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Union Cabinet approved Anti-Hijacking Bill 2014 giving death penalty to hijackers

Dec 3, 2014 12:00 IST

Union cabinetThe Union cabinet on 2 December 2014 approved introduction of a comprehensive Anti-Hijacking Bill 2014. This Bill provides for stringent punishment including death penalty to hijackers in case of death of a hostage or security personnel.

It also provides imprisonment for life and the moveable and immoveable property of such persons shall also be liable to be confiscated.

The Bill is expected to be introduced in Parliament in the winter session 2014.

The cabinet also decided to repeal the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 (amended in 1994) and withdrawal of the Anti-Hijacking Amendment Bill, 2010. The decision was made during a Union Cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill, 2010
The Anti-Hijacking Amendment Bill, 2010 was brought after incident of hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999 from Kathmandu. The amendment was made more necessary after the incident of 9/11 US attack in which aircrafts were used as weapons.

The Bill was pending in Rajya Sabha since it was introduced on 19 August 2010 by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Praful Patel. The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.

Main Features of Anti-Hijacking Amendment Bill, 2010
• The Bill wanted to amend the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982. The Act states that any person (whether alone or in a group) who unlawfully, by force or intimidation seizes an aircraft commits the offence of hijacking is guilty of the offence
• The Bill enhances the penalty for hijacking to death or life imprisonment and fine as against the Act which stipulates a penalty of life imprisonment and fine for the offence of hijacking.

The Cabinet also gave approval for Ratification of the Beijing Protocol, 2010. India is a signatory of the Beijing Protocol that was signed at the global diplomatic Conference held at Beijing in August-September, 2010. This Protocol brought out new principal offences combined with ancillary offences, enlarged the scope of hijacking, expanded jurisdiction and strengthened extradition and mutual assistance regimes.

About December 1999 Indian Airlines flight IC-814 hijack
Indian Airlines (now Air India) flight IC-814 was hijacked on its way back to Delhi from Kathmandu on 24 December 1999. The flight was taken over by five Pakistani hijackers with 180 passengers and crew, the flight was forced to make a detour to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

The hijack drama that continued for several days ended after an agreement was reached between the Union Government and the terrorists. Under the agreement, India exchanged three jailed militants (Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Zargar) for the release of passengers.

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