In a major step to secure the skies, the Centre has cleared a proposal to amend the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 to provide for the death penalty for those guilty of the crime.
A group of ministers, headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram, decided on Tuesday to amend a clause in the Act, which provides for life imprisonment, to include the death term, sources said. They also decided on a new clause to cover conspiracy to hijack an aircraft.
The proposed amendments will be given legal shape so they can be brought before the coming budget session of Parliament.
The UPA had unveiled a tough anti-hijack policy in 2005 under which any hijacked plane being used as a missile — like 9/11 — would be shot down. The Centre wants this policy to be part of the anti-hijack law.