Rajya Sabha today passed the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2014, which provides for death penalty even if ground handling staff and airport personnel are killed during such acts.
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 In July 2015.
Besides broadening the definition of hijacking, it also provides for an enhanced punishment to the perpetrators as well as the area of jurisdiction.
Following the amendments, the perpetrators of hijacking would now be punishable with death penalty where such an act result in the death of any person.
The Anti-Hijacking Bill 2014, introduced in Rajya Sabha in December 2014, was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.
The panel submitted its report in March 2015, suggesting various changes including making hoax calls a punishable offence and providing adequate compensation for victims of hijacking. The panel had asked the government to look at adequately defining the terms ‘hostage’ and ‘security personnel’.
Earlier on discussion on the bill, A U Singh Deo (BJD) said the bill does not have provisions for improving security and intelligence gathering.
He added that India should make an agency to handle airport security on the lines of TSA in the US, which was created post 9/11.
V P Singh Badnore (BJP) said that there should be provisions for the safety of the Parliament building as well as the President’s estate, which are close to the airports.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajpathi Raju said that the issues of security zone is looked after by Home Ministry.
Deputy Chairman P J kurien asked Raju to convey to the Ministry the concerns raised by the member over the security of the Parliament building and the President’s estate.
During Special Mention, Vijay Jawaharlal Darda (Cong) raised the issue of restructuring of the Bureau of Civil Aviation. Basawaraj Patil (BJP) demanded for a better utilisation of the ESI Hospital in Gulbarga (Karnataka).
Lal Singh Vadodia (BJP) raised the issue of improving the post office net banking services. Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (SP) demanded to make the Prime Minister Crop Insurance premium free. Vivek Gupta (TMC) raised the issue of release of MGNREGA funds to states.