Parliamentary committee wants govt to review Piracy Bill

 A parliamentary committee has recommended that the government should review a clause in the Piracy Bill that seeks to make provisions for awarding death penalty to sea-bandits.

In its report on the Piracy Bill, 2012, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, headed by BJP MP Ananth Kumar, pointed out that the death penalty clause in the proposed legislation should be reviewed to avoid hassles to get foreign pirates extradited to India.

The government introduced the Piracy Bill in Lok Sabha on April 24, to lay the legal framework to prosecute the pirates caught by the Indian Navy or the Coast Guard, irrespective of their nationality.

Clause 3 of the Piracy Bill states that whoever commits an act of piracy “shall be punished with imprisonment for life except where the accused has caused death in committing the act of piracy or attempt thereof in which case he may be punished with death”.

The committee recommended that the Union Government should review the clause. “There is an apparent involvement of issue of extradition of captured pirates from foreign countries in most of the cases,” it noted in its report.

“The Committee is of the opinion that the provision of death penalty may be reviewed in the light of international nature of the crime and involvement of international actors and the past experience of Government of India having faced with refusals to extradite accused/criminals in view of existence of ‘death penalty’ clause in Indian law,” the panel said in its report to the Lok Sabha.

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