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Report No. 62

1B.24. Desirability of restricting the present provision as to ships.-

In fact, even as regards ships, it is better to confine the Act to ships registered in India The concept of "Indian ships"1 has not much direct importance in our statute law. Conditions now have changed; there are not as many Indian-seamen on ships registered outside India as before, and having regard to international law, there is a case for re-insertion of the word "registered".

Such an amendment will, no doubt, have the effect of taking out ships whose owners carry on trade or business in India and employ Indian seamen, if the ships are registered outside India. It is fair that the workmen employed on such ships should also receive compensation but they will have to pursue their remedies under the law of the country whose flag the ship flies. If necessary, the matter could be dealt with by agreement with the foreign country concerned.2

The general British view was summarised in these words by the Attorney-General in 1964, in the course of the Debate on the Shipping Contracts etc. Bill.3

"In our view, a country such as America acts in excess of its own jurisdiction when its measures purport to regulate acts which are done outside its territorial jurisdiction by persons who are not its own nationals and which have no, or no substantial effect within its territorial jurisdiction."

1. Sections 21 and 22, Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

2. Cf. sections 35 to 37, English Act of 1925.

3. H.C. Debates, Vol. 698 (15 July, 1964) Col. 1279 (Attorney General).

1B.24. Aircraft.-

We now come to the question of aircraft. An aircraft has no flag, but the system of registration is applicable. There appears to be some propriety in adopting the criterion of the place of registration of aircraft. Under the Tokyo Convention, of 1963 for example, (a) the State in which an aircraft is registered has powerlo exercise jurisdiction over offences "against penal law" and over acts which jeopardise safety or good order and discipline; and the jurisdiction of other States (including any which may be overflown) is limited to the circumstances listed in Article 4 of the Convention, (b) the aircraft commander is given specific powers in accordance with his scheme, coupled with an immunity (Article 10), and other States incur certain obligations to assist in its enforcement, (c) for extradition purposes, the offences are deemed to have been committed both in the territory of the State of registration of the aircraft and in the place where they occurred. The Indian Penal Code has also adopted the test of place of registration.

1B.25. It is, therefore, legitimate to give importance to the rule of the place of registration of the aircraft, as has been done in the case of ships, with reference to the Workmen's Compensation Act also.

Workmens Compensation Act, 1923 Back

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