New Delhi: The proposed anti-hijacking legislation should make hoax calls a punishable offence and provide adequate compensation for victims of hijacking, a parliamentary panel said on Wednesday.
The committee has also asked the government to look at adequately defining the terms 'hostage' and 'security personnel'.
The Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2014, introduced in Rajya Sabha in December last, was referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.
The bill has proposed stringent measures such as death penalty to the hijackers. Besides that, the definition of 'hijacking' has been widened to include even those persons or acts associated directly or indirectly with hijacking.
In its report tabled in the Parliament today, the panel said such a "comprehensive and strong" bill is the need of the hour.
"A new provision may be made in the bill to cover the 'hoax calls' with a commensurate punishment. Instances of receiving hoax calls have increased which creates panic and scare resulting in serious complications for the passengers," it said.
The panel, chaired by Rajya Sabha member K D Singh, said Civil Aviation Ministry should consider including necessary provisions in the bill to provide for compensation to the victims of hijacking or their dependents.
It has also called for defining the terms 'hostage' and 'security personnel'.
Clause 5 of the bill defines punishment for acts of violence connected with hijacking and covers any such act committed against passengers or crew of the aircraft concerned.
According to the panel, such a definition means the punishment for violent acts by the hijacker against any of the ground staff or security personnel at the airport are not covered by that clause.
"Keeping in view this fact, it becomes important to ensure the punishment of hijackers for the violence committed by them against ground staff and security personnel at the airport.
"Therefore, the words 'or any ground staff and security personnel at the airport' may be suitably added in clause 5 of the bill," it said.
While introducing the bill in December, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said the aim of the proposed legislation is to strengthen existing strategies to deal with hijacking.