The Admiralty Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims Act, 2017

Jurisdiction is an important matter while considering a law suit in a country. The determination of jurisdiction of a property or land in a country as per the existing laws is convenient but fixation of jurisdiction of maritime or voyages including ships or other type of vessels in the sea are subject to several restrictions in accordance with the existing laws. The Admiralty Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims Act 2017 is a concise yet comprehensive act in four chapters and 18 sections includes repeals and saving enacted on 9th August 2017 enumerating rules and regulations related to territorial jurisdiction of water in maritime activities. The act clearly states about all legal proceedings related to arrest, detention or any matter incidental thereto in the defined territorial jurisdiction in the sea. High courts of the respective territorial jurisdictions have authority to exercise legal proceedings subject to the provisions of the act.
Chapter one of the act states the applicability of the provisions to any vessel irrespective of the domicile or residence of the owner of the vessel. It also provides the exemption clause of the act to the warships, naval auxiliary or any vessel owned or operated by state or central government, any vessel under construction, vessels of foreign origin or ownership for non commercial purposes.

As per section 3 of the along with section 2(1)e, The Admiralty Jurisdiction of the act extends to Hyderabad, Gujarat, Orissa, Kerala, Mumbai, Karnataka and Chennai. By notification in the Gazette the central Government confers to extend jurisdictional power of any other High court in the country. The demarcation of water territorial jurisdiction is rigid hence many most modern technologies including Geo special mapping, satellite mapping are widely used for exact determination of demarcation. Section 4 of the act determines the ownership claims of any vessel regarding its possession, mortgage, construction, all sorts of security matters , repair and any other claims concerns the vessel subject to the provisions of the act.

Chapter 3 section 12 to 15 deals with the court proceedings, appeal and transfer of any matter if necessity occurs to Supreme Court of India. Application of Civil procedure code and assistance of assessors in that are the vital provisions of the act is enumerated in section 12 and section 13 of the Act. Chapter 4 deals with the repeal, savings and removal of difficulties by virtue of the act. Section 18 states the central government’s power to remove any inconsistent provision of the act through Gazette notification but orders such notifications or orders can’t be made a three years of expiry period from the commencement of the act.

The act also provides retrospective effect of matters before the commencement of the act. This Act is a landmark enactment in the international scenario of modern maritime laws existing in different countries as this Act ensures all possible legal security on maritime claims and dispute verifying the consistency of every shipping documents and any other matters incidental there to provided subject to the provisions of the act.

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