A parliamentary panel in India Thursday agreed that the Ministry of External Affairs should make sincere efforts to enhance international cooperation on maritime piracy and ensure the welfare of Indian seafarers captured by pirates.
India does not have separate domestic legislation on piracy and prosecution for piracy as a crime has not been included in the Indian Penal Code or the Code of Criminal Procedure, the panel noted in a report presented in Lok Sabha on Thursday, according to information by TheWire.
The government should now make all possible efforts for an earlier enactment of an anti-piracy legislation so that India becomes a part of an international endeavour to combat piracy and may provide for a sound legal basis for prosecuting and punishing persons committing acts of piracy,
…the panel said in its report.
Following a surge in piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean region after 2008, the UN Security Council (UNSC) recognised piracy as a crime under UN Convention of Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982.
In April 2012, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had first piloted a separate comprehensive domestic Anti-Piracy legislation to deal with piracy. The Cabinet received fresh approval in November, 2019 and was re-introduced in Lok Sabha in December, 2019.
The Committee deplores such lackadaisical approach of the government in bringing such an important legislation when there is an urgent need of the comprehensive domestic legislation on piracy which can provide the necessary framework within the country for prosecution in piracy-related crimes,
…the report said.
In addition, as the panel is not aware of the other efforts made in between by the government to enhance international cooperation on the issue of maritime piracy, it proposed that the government make now all possible efforts for an earlier enactment of anti-piracy legislation.
The Committee, therefore, would like that the government should, now, make all possible efforts for an earlier enactment of anti-piracy legislation so that India becomes a part of an international endeavour to combat piracy as well as it may provide for a sound legal basis for prosecuting and punishing persons committing acts of piracy and also safety and security of India’s maritime trade including the safety of our vessels and crew members,
…the report reads.
The panel also said it would like to “reiterate their recommendation made in the 16th report on the Piracy Bill 2012, and desire that MEA should make sincere efforts to enhance international cooperation on maritime piracy and by taking adequate and proactive measures to ensure the welfare of Indian seafarers captured by pirates simultaneously”.
Finally, it recommended that clause 3 of the draft Bill should be reframed to make a provision of “punishment for death when death of any person is caused while committing or making an attempt of piracy”.