India Updates Anti-Hijacking Law 2016 adding Section 4

In the hijacking attacks on the Indian aircraft IC-814 in 1999 and the 9/11 in the U.S., aircrafts were used as missiles. These incidents raised the alerts for security to be strengthened and developed based on the vintage 1982 anti-hijacking law in India introducing death penalty for the crime in the new Anti-hijacking Act of 2016.

The hijacking attacks in 1999 in India and the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. created the need to make hijacking as a punishable crime inducing death penalty. The Government realized that the punishments in the 1982 law were not strict and broad enough to deal with the new challenges or threats posed by the advanced technological age.

The Anti-Hijacking Act of 2016 wiped out most of the provisions in the 1982 law. Its objectives go hand-in-hand with the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft. The Act further integrated the Beijing Protocol Supplementary September 2010 to the convention, which specially focuses on ‘unlawful acts against civil aviation by new types of threats’. The Act highlights the government’s concerns regarding preventive measures against the hostile acts of taking over the control of the aircraft risking the safety of people and property.

The new law amended Section three of the 1982 Legislation for elaboration of the definition of hijacking to taking over or seizure of an aircraft by means of any technology. This proposes the meaning that the hijacker need not be physically present inside the aircraft to have it under control.

According to the Act, even a credible ‘threat’ to hijack an aircraft amounts to hijacking. The definition of ‘hijacking’ also includes an attempt to commit the crime, abetting, organizing, participating in it as an accomplice, and unlawfully and intentionally assisting a person involved in hijacking to evade investigation or prosecution or punishment. Here, a person who does not actually participate in the hijacking but ‘directs’ someone else to do it is equally liable.

Section 4 mentions death punishment if the hijacking causes death of any person related to the aircraft directly or indirectly. Alternative for the death penalty is life imprisonment. The Act clearly states that imprisonment for life means ‘imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life’. There are no options available to curb this punishment. Any aircraft is considered to be ‘in-service’ from the beginning of its pre take-off preparations by ground staff until 24 hours after ‘any landing’.

A detailed study on the Aviation hijacking laws, security threats, and preventive measures has been stated in Airport Automated Security Screening Market report published by Coherent Market Insights.

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