An Overview on Anti- Hijacking Act



This article is written by- Surbhi Kumari from Amity University Patna.


Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an Associate in Nursing craft by a personal or a bunch. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly consistent with the orders of the hijackers. In 1982, the Associate in Nursing act was passed by the Parliament of India for suppression of unlawful seizure of aircraft registered in India and was referred to as the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982. Consistent with the act, whoever on board craft on the wing tries by force or threats and intends to manage the craft for unlawful functions shall be charged with the offense to commit a hijack. The social control underneath such a charge, if proved, was imprisonment and fine.

The increase within the variety of incidents of hijacking, increasing dangers against the protection of the flights of aircrafts presents grave issues before the international community and notably before the International Civil Aviation Organization. So as to unravel this drawback and penalise the hijackers, many Conventions are adopted.

In Dec 1999, Associate in Nursing Indian Airlines craft popularly referred to as IC-814 was hijacked whereas movement on its method back to urban center from Kathmandu, Nepal. Despite many tries of negotiation with the hijackers, the Indian government was forced to unleash 3 terrorists specifically Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Saeed ruler and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar. One in every one of the passengers was killed whereas many others were injured . Later the case was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which charged ten individuals, of which seven individuals were absconding as well as the five hijackers. The 3 people that were charged with serving the hijackers were awarded life imprisonment.

The Anti-hijacking Act, 2016

Reforms within the Anti-hijacking Act, 1982 were given, and 1st brought up in 2010 but the amendments couldn’t see abundant daylight. It had been this year within the month of could once the Anti-hijacking modification Act was passed in each home with success additionally because it received the assent of the President. The Anti-hijacking Act, 2016 has been divided into 3 chapters mainly: the primary chapter deals with the definition of hijacking and different things like craft, hostage, military craft, etc. The second chapter deals with the social control for the defendant. The provisions of CRPC, 1973 have been permitted.

Chapter-2 describes the powers of the central government. It conjointly defines the jurisdiction of the law.

The 3rd chapter contains the miscellaneous provisions like the ability to treat bound craft to be registered in Convention countries. The persons acting in straightness and doing something needed underneath their duties. The new bill has an impact on The Hague Convention, 1971 and also the Peking Protocol, 2010. Some of the vital modifications within the new bill are;

• Change in definition of the word “hijacking” The law currently defines hijacking as “Whoever unlawfully Associate in deliberately seizes or exercises management of an craft in commission by force or threat thence, or by coercion, or by the other style of intimidation, or by any technological means that, commits the offense of hijacking”

Provision of execution and Role of Central Government

• Change of jurisdiction of the law to “Universal”. Punishment:- Section 3(1) of the opposing Hijacking Act, 2016 defines the offence of hijacking as:

• If hijacking results in death of a rider or a trained worker, it’s punishable with death. If not, the hijacking is punishable with imprisonment.

• The Act of 2016 conjointly provides for fine and seizure of movable and immovable assets. The hijacker would even be charged with the other offence that takes place throughout the hijacking. It conjointly provides for detention in custody for up to thirty days, and a bail application won’t be pleased unless the general public attorney is given an opportunity to oppose it. If opposed, the court would need to be moderately happy that no offence of hijacking was committed.

Critical Analysis

Significance of the new act:

• The new legislation could be a welcome move as Asian nations tighten their stand on handling hijacking incidents. Hijacking has become a major space of international aviation law inflicting nice concern globally.

• India has shown its concern by changing its legislative machinery and by establishing combating hijacking.

• This act was introduced for a lot of alerts for the protection and security of passengers just in case of hijacking. It’ll help to beat drawbacks of the prevailing crisis management system in handling cases of hijacking.

• It proposes to allow powers to the agencies and force for stern action against those creating phone calls and distributing hoax threats.

• Standing Committee had supported the supply to award death penalty to abettors and conspirators committing any act outlined as hijacking.

• However, this committee had conjointly opined that if capital punishment was ensured for all hijacking offences, then the chance for negotiation or settlement to save lots of the lives of passengers would be closed. It had conjointly asked whether or not capital punishment would function deterrence to hijackers on suicide missions.

Old Act vs. New Act

• The key new introductions square measure the capital punishment, sentence for hoax calls, and a wider definition for craft “in service”.

• Under the previous Act, associate craft was thought of “in service” between the time the doors shut and also the time each traveller had disembarked. Below the new Act, “a craft shall be thought of to be ‘in service’ from the start of the pre-flight preparation of the craft by ground personnel or by the crew for a selected flight till day when any landing”.

• In case of aircraft landing, “the flight shall be deemed to continue till the competent authorities take over the responsibility for the aircraft”.

• The new Act applies although the offence is committed outside India. However the craft is registered in India or chartered to Indians, or the wrongdoer is Indian, or the wrongdoer is homeless however lives in Asian nation (such as associate with an embezzled Bangladeshi migrant), or the offence is committed against Indians.


• The Act of 2016 has some shortcomings. The term ‘aircraft’ is known as any craft, whether or not or not it’s registered in Asian nation. However it excludes associate craft that’s utilized in customs or police service that ought to are enclosed.

• Provision to hide ‘hoax calls’ with proportionate penalization ought to be enforced. Hoax calls produce panic, leading to serious complications for passengers. They conjointly cause a nightmare for security agencies that find themselves wasting resources and time to verify the legitimacy of the decision.

• Moreover, even the terms ‘hostage’ and ‘security personnel’ haven’t been outlined within the Act. The Act, as expressed on top of, solely prescribes a penalization with death wherever the offence of hijacking leads to the death of a prisoner or security personnel. Within the case of associate intervention, particularly associated armed intervention by security personnel, there’s an opening of the death of alternative persons and of import penalization has to be prescribed.

• The Act conjointly doesn’t defend ground workers and security personnel at the landing field. Whereas associate craft is on the bottom or is being ready for departure, a prospective hijacker could commit an act of violence against the bottom personnel. In its current type, the Act defines the penalization for acts of violence connected with hijacking and covers solely violence against passengers or airline crew. It overlooks violence against ground workers or security personnel, that is equally necessary.

• The Act ought to have even thought of providing extra-territorial standing or immunity from jurisdiction for the good thing about the passengers and also the crew within the state so that associate craft is also hijacked. This sort of rule, that ought to conjointly apply to any or all cases of unexpected landings in an exceedingly foreign country, is desperately required, notably within the event of the unlawful seizure of associate craft.


The Anti-hijacking modification Act, 2016 covers a substantial quantity of enhancements compared to the act of 1982 or the amendments created in 1994. With the implementation of this act, the Indian legislation certainly tightens its stand against incidents associated with hijacking because it brings each technology and men to figure along a lot of watchfully for the protection of passengers. The new act has conjointly been framed by the Beijing Protocol, 2010 that makes it noted globally as several countries frame their civil aviation laws by this protocol.


Curated by Athira Albert of Kristu Jayanti College of Law, Bangalore.



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