The Supreme Court of India has been informed by the Centre that it will soon bring a legislation to ensure effective prosecution of pirates and taking all possible steps to bring back Indian seamen who are being held hostages.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, External Affairs Ministry said that the Piracy Bill 2012, prepared by it in consultation with the ministries of Shipping, Defence, Home Affairs and Law & Justice, has been approved by the Cabinet.
“It is submitted that India does not currently have a separate legislation on piracy. Therefore, it was decided by the government to prepare a comprehensive domestic legislation on piracy in line with United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, 1982 at the earliest so as to ensure effective prosecution of the pirates and to act as a deterrent to pirates,” mentioned in the affidavit.
The Centre also said that it is helping the Somalian government in combating piracy.
“India has been providing assistance to Somalia in its capacity building to enable it in combating piracy more effectively. It is not out of place to mention that India had contributed USD 3 million towards augmentation of the African Union Mission during 2011-12,” according to it.
The affidavit was filed in compliance of the apex court order which had issued notice to the Centre on a PIL filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking direction to the government to frame effective anti-piracy guidelines in the wake of increasing incidents of Indian seamen being held hostages by Somali pirates.
Mr. Bansal alleged that number of incidents of hijacking of Indian ships in high seas is growing as the government has not adopted a proper mechanism to deal with such cases in an effective manner.