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Admiralty (Jurisdiction & Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017 passed unanimously by Rajya Sabha

The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017, which seeks to confer admiralty jurisdiction on all High courts of the coastal states of the country was adopted unanimously in the Rajya sabha last week.

The bill which was introduced during the Winter Session of Parliament came up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha on July 24 and was passed unanimously by the house.

The Bill aims to establish a legal framework for consolidation of related laws to replace the age-old archaic laws with modern Indian legislation and to confer admiralty jurisdiction on all High Courts of the coastal states of the country on matters pertaining to affording protection to ship owners, charterers, operators, crew members and seafarers.

The Bill was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha in March this year. Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, gave a overview of the Bill in the House, highlighting the need for such a Bill by repealing the five different Admiralty Acts which are 126 to 177 years old.

The Bill provides for prioritisation of maritime claims and maritime liens while providing protection to owners, charterers, operators, crew members and seafarers at the same time.

As per the new Bill, High Courts of all the coastal states shall exercise admiralty jurisdiction over maritime claims, which include several aspects not limited to goods imported , but also other claims such as payment of wages of seamen, loss of life, salvages, mortgage, loss or damage, services and repairs, insurance, ownership and lien, threat of damage to environment.

The Bill accords highest priority to payment of wages of the seafarers. The Bill also provides for protection against wrongful and unjustified arrest and has provision for transfer of cases from one High Court to another High Court.

 


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