Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill - IE - 22/12/22

Recently, Rajya Sabha passed the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill which the government said would provide an effective legal instrument to combat Maritime Piracy.
The security of sea lanes of communication is critical as more than 90% of India’s trade takes place by sea routes and more than 80% of the country’s hydrocarbon requirements was sea-borne.
->Key Features of the Bill:-
-The Bill provides for prevention of maritime piracy and prosecution of persons for such piracy-related crimes. The Bill brings into law the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
-Definition of Piracy: It defines piracy as any illegal act of violence, detention, or destruction committed against a ship, aircraft, person or property, for private purposes, by the crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft. Such acts may be carried out in the high seas (beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone of India) or any place outside the jurisdiction of India.

-Penalties: An act of piracy will be punishable with, Imprisonment for life; or Death, if the act of piracy causes or attempts to cause death. An attempt to commit, aid, support, or counsel an act of piracy will be punishable with up to 14 years of imprisonment, and a fine.
-Jurisdiction of the Courts: The central government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court, may notify Sessions Courts as the Designated Courts under this Bill.

->Key Challenges:-
-Under the Bill, if a person, while committing an act of piracy causes or seeks to cause death, he will be punished with death.
-The Bill will apply to all parts of the sea adjacent to and beyond the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India, i.e., beyond 200 nautical miles from the coastline.

->UN Convention on the Law of the Sea:
-The UNCLOS, 1982 is an international agreement that establishes the legal framework for marine and maritime activities.
-It is also known as Law of the Sea. It divides marine areas into five main zones namely- Internal Waters, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the High Seas.
-It is the only international convention which stipulates a framework for state jurisdiction in maritime spaces. It provides a different legal status to different maritime zones.

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