Anti Hijacking Act 2016

Published: June 13, 2019

A special court in Ahmedabad has sentenced a man to life and a fine of Rs 5 crore for creating a hijack scare aboard a Jet Airways Mumbai-Delhi flight and forcing it to land in Ahmedabad in October 2017. This was the first conviction under the provisions of the Anti Hijacking Act, 2016.

Features of the Act

  • The Anti Hijacking Act 2016 aims to enforce Hague Hijacking Convention and the 2010 Beijing Protocol Supplementary to the Convention by replacing Anti Hijacking Act, 1982, which was considered obsolete in the face of emerging threats.
  • The act not only punishes an actual act of hijacking but even a false threat that may appear genuine. Hence even a hoax call that forces an aircraft to land at a place different from the place intended would be treated as hijacking and attracts similar punishment.
  • Hence under the act armed possession of an aircraft may not be necessary for hijacking and that it may be hijacked remotely through a technological threat.
  • Hijacking attempts, directing others to commit hijacking, being an accomplice and assisting another person to evade investigation are punishable as hijacking under the act.
  • If hijacking leads to death of a passenger or a crew member, it is punishable with death sentence or else the hijacking is punishable with life imprisonment.
  • The Act provides for fine and confiscation of movable and immovable assets.

Hague Convention and 2010 Supplementary Protocol

The Hague Convention (Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft) sets out the principle of for a state that is party to the Convention on how it must prosecute an aircraft hijacker if no other state requests his or her extradition for prosecution. The 2010 Beijing Supplementary Protocol has madd amendments and additions.

The new Act is applicable even in cases where the offence was committed outside India but the aircraft is registered in India or leased to Indians, or the offender is Indian, or the offender is stateless but lives in India or the offence is committed against Indians.

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