Bill giving DGCA, BCAS statutory status passed by Parliament

New Delhi, Sep 15 : The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which will provide statutory status to regulatory bodies in the aviation sector, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has been passed by Parliament with the Rajya Sabha approving it on Tuesday.

The bill, which also seeks to provide statutory status to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), was passed by the Lok Sabha in March.

It approves the increase of maximum penalty for violations from the current Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore.

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Audits conducted by the ICAO in 2012 and 2015 indicated a need to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934 to give proper recognition to the regulators under the Act, to enhance the maximum quantum of fines and to empower the departmental officers to impose financial penalties on individuals or organisations involved in violations of the legal provisions and to include certain areas of air navigation services for rule-making purpose under section 5 of the Act.

In India, the DGCA is the aviation safety regulator and was the only main body regulating various aspects of civil aviation. However, over a period of time, on account of various administrative and operational requirements, two distinct organisations, i.e. the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau, had been created through different notifications issued by Central government and these, as well as the DGCA, needed to be defined in the parent Act.

With the expansion of civil aviation in India, it was felt that regulator of the respective field of civil aviation needs to be empowered for imposition of penalty for certain violations through incorporating suitable enabling provision through rule-making on the aspect. The amount of penalties prescribed under various provisions of the Act for various violations/offences also needed a review.

The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to define the DGCA, the BCAS and the AAIB.

It also seeks to empower the BCAS or any authorised officer to issue directions.

The bill also seeks to appoint designated officers for adjudging penalties and to provide for compounding of offences.


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