Govt okays changes to anti-hijacking law, introduces harsher punishment

 The government today approved amendments to anti-hijacking law that provides for death penalty even if ground handling staff and airport personnel are killed during such acts, besides broadening the definition of hijacking, official sources said.

New Delhi: The government today approved amendments to anti-hijacking law that provides for death penalty even if ground handling staff and airport personnel are killed during such acts, besides broadening the definition of hijacking, official sources said.

In the earlier Bill, hijackers could be tried for death penalty only in the event of death of hostages, such as flight crew, passengers and security personnel.
The amendments in the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2014 were cleared by the Cabinet at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here today, official sources said.

Besides broadening the definition of hijacking, the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2015 also provides for an enhanced punishment to the perpetrators as well as the area of jurisdiction, they said.

"Following the amendments, the perpetrators of the act (hijacking) would now be punishable with death penalty where such an act result in the death of any person. It also provides for confiscation of movable and immovable propertied of the offenders," they said.

The Anti-Hijacking Bill 2014, introduced in Rajya Sabha in December last, was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.

The parliamentary panel submitted its report in March this year, wherein it had suggested various changes including making hoax calls a punishable offence and providing adequate compensation for victims of hijacking.

The committee had also asked the government to look at adequately defining the terms 'hostage' and 'security personnel'. 

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