Published by: Shivani Sharma


The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2020 through a voice vote. The Bill tries to transform the three administrative bodies under the Civil Aviation Ministry including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) into legal bodies. The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was presented in the lower place of the Parliament by Civil Aviation Minister, Sh. Hardeep Singh Puri, on Febuary 4, 2020, because according to him the revisions would satisfy the necessities of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020Background The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed by the Lo2

The Bill proposes to revise the Aircraft Act, 1934, which manages the assembling, ownership, use, activity, deal, import and fare of common airplane and permitting of aerodromes.

Purpose of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is an UN specific office, set up by States in 1944 to deal with the organization and administration of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). The Headquarter of ICAO is in Montreal, Canada.

  • ICAO's goals and objectives, as expressed in the Chicago Convention, are to cultivate the arranging and advancement of universal air transport in order to guarantee the protected and deliberate development of global civil aviation all over the world.

  • It also energizes human expressions of airplane structure and activity for quiet purpose, such as empower the improvement of aviation routes, air terminals, and air route offices for worldwide common flying.

  • It addresses the issues of the people groups of the world for sheltered, ordinary, effective, and efficient air transport.

  • It also guarantee that the privileges of contracting states are completely regarded and each contracting state has a reasonable chance to work with global aircrafts and also maintain a strategic distance from segregation between contracting states.

  • It also helps to encourage the safety and security of airplanes routes globally as well as also helps in overall growth of others characteristics of international civil aeronautics.

Why were Amendments needed?

ICAO's Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP) was at first propelled in January 1999, because of far reaching worries about the sufficiency of aviation security oversight around the globe. At first, USOAP exercises comprised in standard and required reviews of ICAO Member States' security oversight frameworks.

USOAP reviews centre around a State's ability in giving well-being oversight by surveying whether the State has viably and reliably executed the basic components (CEs) of a security oversight framework, which empower the State to guarantee the usage of ICAO's well-being related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and related methodology and direction material. Every year this organisation conducted this programme to ensure the safety of aviation sector.

The International Civil Aviation Organization had directed a review (USOAP) in 2012 and 2015, which featured the need to alter the Act to give due acknowledgment to the administrative bodies and upgrade the greatest furthest reaches of the punishments and enable the officials to force money related punishments for infringement of the legitimate arrangements.

In November, 2017 the audit programme was conducted again and this time the result of audit showed a drastic change. The review result demonstrated that the nation's score declined to 57.44% from 65.82% prior, setting India underneath Pakistan, Nepal and numerous different countries as well. Such as Maladies, North Korea, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Reasons of Downfall

One of the outcomes of a low score is a potential minimizing by US aviation controller, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA came in India in July in 2018, to lead a review after India slipped in its score. A downsize by FAA would imply that Indian aircrafts won't have the option to run new trips to the US or structure collusions with US carriers. Indian transporters that would land in USA would likewise confront harsher checks.

The report says that one reason behind India's horrid presentation is the administration's disregard of flight controller, DGCA. There has been an "intense decrease"- from 89% to 26% - in the powerful usage rate in the territory of faculty authorizing. This prompted a significant fall in India's score.

The ICAO featured that the permitting of air-traffic controllers (ATC) was being completed by state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI), which was one of the key regions of concern. According to global practices, the DGCA should give licenses to ATC authorities who assume a significant job in the consistent administration of flight Operation all over the nation.

But it’s not like that .after 2017 our position in this sector has not improved. But this report gave us the warning alert of imminent danger, and now India realised that there is a need to amend the provisions of Aircraft act 1934.

Provisions of the Bill

The Bill changes over three existing bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation into legal bodies that means now these three authorities are backed by the law, these authorities are as follows:

  1. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

  2. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

  3. The Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB)

  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the administrative body in the field of Civil Aviation, essentially managing wellbeing issues. It is answerable for guideline of air transport administrations to/from/inside India and for implementation of common air guidelines, air security, and airworthiness principles and also considers all otters matters which are mentioned in the bill. The DGCA, likewise, coordinates every administrative operation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

  • Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) was at first set up as a Cell in the DGCA in January, 1978 on the proposal of the Pandey Committee. The BCAS was redesigned into a free division under the Ministry of Civil Aviation on April 1st, 1987. The primary obligations of BCAS incorporate setting down norms and measures as for security of common trips at worldwide and local air terminals in India.

  • Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB)

Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, India (AAIB, India) is an appended office of the Govt of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation. As it is expressly mentioned in the name, AAIB is answerable for arrangement of "Security affairs” including accidents, serious injuries in domestic boundaries.

As per this Bill, these authorities will be governed by Directorate General who will be appointed by the Union Government. The Union Government also gives instructions regarding important matters of the Bill.

Powers of the Centre to make Rules

Under the Act, the Central Government may make certain rules and regulation on certain issues such as:

  1. Registration of Aircraft

  2. Regulating Air Transport Services

  3. Prohibition of Flight Over any specified area

  4. Regulation of Air Navigation Services

This Amendment also allows the Director General of BCAS and any other empowered person issue Respective Order for the following matters such as:

  1. Condition under which an aircraft may be flown

  2. Inspection of aircrafts

  3. Measures to safeguard civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference

Powers of Adjudicating Officers

The Bill accommodates the arrangement of assigned officials, not underneath the position of Deputy Secretary to mediate punishments under the Bill for the violation of laws. If the aggrieved party is not satisfied with the decisions of the Deputy Secretary, then there is another official for Appeal i.e., the Palpitate Officer. But this Appeal should be made within thirty days.

Offenses and Punishment under the Act

The Aircraft Act, 1934 commands punishment for the accompanying offenses:

  1. Carrying Explosives, Arms or some other hazardous merchandise on board an airplane.

  2. Contravening any standards informed under the Act

  3. Constructing structure or structures inside the predetermined sweep around an airplane

The Aircraft Act, 1934 imposes punishment including detainment, as long as, of two years or fine up to Rs. 10 Lakh or both for the offenses mentioned above. But now the Amendment Bill extends the maximum limit of the fine from Rs. 10 Lakh to Rs. 1 Crore.

At a greater distance, if anyone violates the provisions of the Bill, then the Union Government has the power to cancel the license, certificates and approval granted for the specified purpose of the defaulting party. The licenses incorporate for the activity, repair and support of airplane, the setting of an air transport administration and the setting of aerodromes.

The Bill takes into account the intensifying of specific offenses or rules under the Act, which include flying to cause danger to any individual or property and the negation of any directions gave by the Director General of any of the three bodies. Offenses might be intensified by the Director Generals as recommended by the Union Government. Exacerbating of offenses isn't permitted if it raises an occurrence of rehash offenses.

The Bill also proposes that, Courts won't take insight of any offense under this Act, except if on a complaint, or there is past approval from the Director General of Civil Aviation, BCAS, or AAIB. The Bill also gives the power to attempt the hearing of the case under the Act to only courts equivalent or superior to a Magistrate of the First Class or Metropolitan Magistrate.

Exemption of Armed Forces

This Bill excluded the Indian Army, Indian Navy or Indian Air Force and its provisions are not imposed on the central armed police forces such as Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). All the aircrafts belonging to these Forces are regulated and operated under their own military rules and not governed by civil regulations.

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