Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016 is Approved (Download PDF)


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The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill 2016 has been unanimously passed by the Union Cabinet, which was recommended by Union Ministry of Shipping to discard five archaic admiralty statutes associated with the powers of the High Courts for sea and navigable waterways transport.

Key Facts

  • The Bill also includes the existing laws related to issues such as admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, admiralty jurisdiction of courts, and arrest of vessels.
  • This Bill meets the long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity.
  • This Bill also discards five obsolete British statues on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters including:
  1. Admiralty Court Act, 1840
  2. Admiralty Court Act, 1861
  3. Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890
  4. Colonial Courts of Admiralty (India) Act, 1891
  5. Provisions of the Letters Patent, 1865

Features of Admirability Bill, 2016

  • Now admiralty jurisdiction will be conferring to the High Court’s which are located in coastal states of India therefore they were extended up to territorial waters.
  • The Union Government can extend jurisdiction upto exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or maritime zone, or islands constituting part of India.
  • Every vessel irrespective of place of domicile or residence of owner will be covered under the Bill, but it will be not applicable to naval auxiliary, warships and vessels used for non-commercial purposes.
  • Though initially the bill does not cover inland vessels and vessels under construction, but it will be applicable via notification.
  • The jurisdiction of the bill extends for adjudicating on a set of maritime claims.
  • Based on assured circumstances, vessel can be arrested to maintain security against a maritime claim.


  • India because of its strategic location and long coastline is a leading maritime nation and maritime transportation caters to 95% merchandise trade volume and 70% value.
  • But the admiralty jurisdiction of Indian courts under the present statutory framework uses laws passed in the British era.

- Published/Last Modified on: September 22, 2016


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