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Report No. 151

7.4. Committee's views on courts exercising Admiralty Jurisdiction.-

The Committee took note of the fact that at present admiralty jurisdiction was being exercised only by the High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and that the High Courts of Gujarat. Andhra Pradesh and Orissa claimed to have derived such jurisdiction under the enactments pertaining to reorganisation of states1. The Committee, however, was of the view that there was a need for the Central Government to constitute independent courts of admiralty called "admiralty courts"2 and delink admiralty jurisdiction from existing High Courts so as to ensure that maritime claims received undivided and quick attention at the hands of experts.

It was suggested that, to avoid divergent decisions in the admiralty courts, a Single Admiralty Appeal Court to entertain a first appeal should be constituted. Suggestions were made for the constitution of these courts in the light of the provisions contained in the Central Administrative Tribunals Act3. Suggestions were also made for the adoption of the rules framed by the High Court of Bombay and for the framing of rules prescribing courts fees and costs4. The draft of an Admiralty Court Act was also submitted which took into account these considerations.

1. A claim which has been approved in Elizabeth's case, JT 1992 (2) SC 65 by the Supreme Court.

2. To start with, it was considered sufficient to have four such courts at Calcutta, Madras, Bombay and Cochin.

3. As interpreted in Sampat Kumar's case, AIR 1987 SC 386.

4. A relaxation of these rules was suggested for "crew vessels".

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