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Report No. 151

Annexlire VI

Draft Admiralty Courts Act, 1987

Preamble

This is an Act to constitute Admiralty Courts relating to ships and the arrest of a ship and other property and for purposes connected therewith and to establish a Special Court for the same.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty Eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:

1. This Act may be called, "The Admiralty Courts Act of India, 1987".

2. It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government by a Notification in their Gazette appoint.

3. The Central Government shall constitute and establish Admiralty Courts in the Cities of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Cochin and all the Admiralty Courts shall have Jurisdiction throughout the Territory of India and throughout the Coast of India and including inland and territorial waters.

4. The Jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts shall be to exercise exclusive jurisdiction in regard to all matters arising under the Admiralty Act of India, 1987 and/or any other Law for the time being in force.

5. An Admiralty Court shall be presided over by one Judge/and the Central Government shall stand empowered to constitute such number of Benches as it deems fit in each of the Cities referred to in section 3 to hear such suits as may fall within the definition of "Admiralty Jurisdiction", as it may appear necessary for the Central Government to do so.

6. An Admiralty Judge shall be appointed from among persons who have necessary qualifications as required for the appointment of a Judge of a High Court of any State and shall be appointed by the President of India in the same manner as a Judge of the High Court of any State PROVIDED THAT the consultation for such appointment shall be with the Chief Justice of India.

7. The salary, perquisites and protocols applicable to an Admiralty Judge shall be the same as that of a Judge of the High Court.

8. The Central Government shall constitute an Appeal Court of Admiralty at Bombay and the Appeal Court shall be presided over by two Judges which shall hear all Appeals against the decision of the Admiralty Courts.

9. Admiralty Courts shall be subject to the general superintendence of the Supreme Court of India.

10. The provisions in this Act shall have effect in respect of any cause of action arising before coming into operation hereof and all the proceedings pending in any High Court exercising Admiralty Jurisdiction shall forthwithstand transferred to the nearest Courts constituted under this Act, and this Court shall dispose of all such cases in accordance with the provisions of Law in force when the cause of action arose.

11. A suit before the Admiralty Court shall be commenced by a plaint signed and verified according to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1973.

12. The Central Government shall frame Rules and Regulations for regulating the procedure and practice in the Admiralty Courts or for any other matter including the payment of court fees, poundage and other changes for the enforcement of the provisions of this Act.

13. Any person aggrieved by any order or judgment of the Court of Admiralty may prefer an appeal to the Appeal Court of Admiralty.

14. Notwithstanding what is stated in any other Law for the time being in force, no appeals or revision shall lie against an order of the Appeal Court of Admiralty to any court PROVIDED THAT subject to the grant of special leave by the Supreme Court of India under Article 132 of the Constitution of India, an appeal may be preferred to the Supreme Court of India on a question of law, jurisdiction or any other question of national or international importance.

15. The provisions of the Civil Procedure Code shall apply to all the proceedings before the Admiralty Court in so far as it is not inconsistent with or contrary to the provisions made hereunder or the Admiralty Act, 1987, or rules made under any of these Acts.

16. The Central Government shall publish in the Official Gazette a list of assessors containing the names of 10 persons who have specialised qualifications or experience in Admiralty and Maritime matters for each of the Admiralty Courts in the cities of Bombay, Madras, Calcutta and Cochin, to assist the Court of Admiralty or the Appeal Court of Admiralty Assessors.

17. In any proceeding before the Admiralty Court either in its original or Appellate or Jurisdiction, the Court shall on request of either party to such cause a summons to its assistance, in such manner as it may direct or it may or Appellate or Jurisdiction, the Court shall on request of either party to suck such Assessors shall attend and assist the Court accordingly. Every such assessor shall receive fees for his attendance as prescribed by the rules to be paid by such of the parties as the court may direct.

18. Appointment of Assessors shall not be a bar to any of the parties examining an expert witness.

19. The provisions of clause 32 of the Letters Patent dated 28th December 1865 for the Courts of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta are hereby repealed.



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