With terror threats to the civil aviation sector looming large, a Group of Ministers on Tuesday cleared proposals to make the anti-hijacking law more stringent by including death sentence as a punishment.
The GoM, headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram, also decided to incorporate a new clause to cover the aspect of conspiracy to hijack an aircraft which does not exist in the Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982.
The Clause 4 of the Act, which now provides for life imprisonment and a fine for hijacking, would be amended to include death penalty also, sources said.
They said the proposed amendments would now be given a legal shape with the intent of bringing them before Parliament in the ensuing Budget Session for the law to be amended.
In 2005, the government had unveiled a tough anti-hijack policy under which any hijacked plane, being used as a missile to target vital installations as in the 9/11 terror attack, would be shot down.
The sources said the effort now was to incorporate these stringent policy provisions in the anti-hijack law.
The policy, which was cleared five years ago by the Cabinet Committee on Security [CCS], also provides that no negotiations whatsoever would be held with the hijackers on their demands.
These provisions aim at countering situations like the December 1999 hijack of Indian Airlines' IC-814 which was taken to Kandahar. Four top terrorists were freed in exchange of the passengers, one of whom was killed by the hijackers.