Section 3 in The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017
Title: Admiralty jurisdiction
Subject to the provisions of sections 4 and 5, the jurisdiction in respect of all maritime claims under this Act shall vest in the respective High Courts and be exercisable over the waters up to and including the territorial waters of their respective jurisdictions in accordance with the provisions contained in this Act:
Provided that the Central Government may, by notification, extend the jurisdiction of the High Court up to the limit as defined in section 2 of the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (80 of 1976).
Title: Maritime claim
(1) The High Court may exercise jurisdiction to hear and determine any question on a maritime claim, against any vessel, arising out of any—
(a) dispute regarding the possession or ownership of a vessel or the ownership of any share therein;
(b) dispute between the co-owners of a vessel as to the employment or earnings of the vessel;
(c) mortgage or a charge of the same nature on a vessel;
(d) loss or damage caused by the operation of a vessel;
(e) loss of life or personal injury occurring whether on land or on water, in direct connection with the operation of a vessel;
(f) loss or damage to or in connection with any goods;
(g) agreement relating to the carriage of goods or passengers on board a vessel, whether contained in a charter party or otherwise;
(h) agreement relating to the use or hire of the vessel, whether contained in a charter party or otherwise;
(i) salvage services, including, if applicable, special compensation relating to salvage services in respect of a vessel which by itself or its cargo threatens damage to the environment;
(l) goods, materials, perishable or non-perishable provisions, bunker fuel, equipment (including containers), supplied or services rendered to the vessel for its operation, management, preservation or maintenance including any fee payable or leviable;
(m) construction, reconstruction, repair, converting or equipping of the vessel;
(n) dues in connection with any port, harbour, canal, dock or light tolls, other tolls, waterway or any charges of similar kind chargeable under any law for the time being in force;
(o) claim by a master or member of the crew of a vessel or their heirs and dependents for wages or any sum due out of wages or adjudged to be due which may be recoverable as wages or cost of repatriation or social insurance contribution payable on their behalf or any amount an employer is under an obligation to pay to a person as an employee, whether the obligation arose out of a contract of employment or by operation of a law (including operation of a law of any country) for the time being in force, and includes any claim arising under a manning and crew agreement relating to a vessel, notwithstanding anything contained in the provisions of sections 150 and 151 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958);
(p) disbursements incurred on behalf of the vessel or its owners;
(q) particular average or general average;
(r) dispute arising out of a contract for the sale of the vessel;
(s) insurance premium (including mutual insurance calls) in respect of the vessel, payable by or on behalf of the vessel owners or demise charterers;
(t) commission, brokerage or agency fees payable in respect of the vessel by or on behalf of the vessel owner or demise charterer;
(u) damage or threat of damage caused by the vessel to the environment, coastline or related interests; measures taken to prevent, minimise, or remove such damage; compensation for such damage; costs of reasonable measures for the restoration of the environment actually undertaken or to be undertaken; loss incurred or likely to be incurred by third parties in connection with such damage; or any other damage, costs, or loss of a similar nature to those identified in this clause;
(v) costs or expenses relating to raising, removal, recovery, destruction or the rendering harmless of a vessel which is sunk, wrecked, stranded or abandoned, including anything that is or has been on board such vessel, and costs or expenses relating to the preservation of an abandoned vessel and maintenance of its crew; and
(w) maritime lien.
Explanation.— For the purposes of clause (q), the expressions “particular average” and “general average” shall have the same meanings as assigned to them in sub-section (1) of section 64 and sub-section (2) of section 66 respectively of the Marine Insurance Act, 1963 (11 of 1963).
(2) While exercising jurisdiction under sub-section (1), the High Court may settle any account outstanding and unsettled between the parties in relation to a vessel, and direct that the vessel, or any share thereof, shall be sold, or make such other order as it may think fit.
(3) Where the High Court orders any vessel to be sold, it may hear and determine any question arising as to the title to the proceeds of the sale.
(4) Any vessel ordered to be arrested or any proceeds of a vessel on sale under this Act shall be held as security against any claim pending final outcome of the admiralty proceeding.
Title: Arrest of vessel in rem
(1) The High Court may order arrest of any vessel which is within its jurisdiction for the purpose of providing security against a maritime claim which is the subject of an admiralty proceeding, where the court has reason to believe that—
(a) the person who owned the vessel at the time when the maritime claim arose is liable for the claim and is the owner of the vessel when the arrest is effected; or
(b) the demise charterer of the vessel at the time when the maritime claim arose is liable for the claim and is the demise charterer or the owner of the vessel when the arrest is effected; or
(c) the claim is based on a mortgage or a charge of the similar nature on the vessel; or
(d) the claim relates to the ownership or possession of the vessel; or
(e) the claim is against the owner, demise charterer, manager or operator of the vessel and is secured by a maritime lien as provided in section 9.
(2) The High Court may also order arrest of any other vessel for the purpose of providing security against a maritime claim, in lieu of the vessel against which a maritime claim has been made under this Act, subject to the provisions of sub-section (1):
Provided that no vessel shall be arrested under this sub-section in respect of a maritime claim under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 4.
Title: Admiralty jurisdiction in personam
Subject to section 7, the High Court may exercise admiralty jurisdiction by action in personam in respect of any maritime claim referred to in clauses (a) to (w) of sub-section (1) of section 4.
Title: Restrictions on actions in personam in certain cases
(1) Where any maritime claim arising in respect of a damage or loss of life or personal injury arising out of any—
(i) collision between vessels,
(ii) the carrying out of or omission to carry out, a manoeuvre in the case of one or more vessels,
(iii) non-compliance, on the part of one or more vessels, with the collision regulations made in pursuance of section 285 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958),
the High Court shall not entertain any action under this section against any defendant unless—
(a) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises in India; or
(b) the defendant, at the time of commencement of the action by the High Court, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain in India:
Provided that an action may be entertained in a case, where there are more defendants than one and where one of the defendants who does not actually and voluntarily reside or carry on business or personally work for gain in India is made a party to such action either with the leave of the court, or each of the defendants acquiesces in such action.
(2) The High Court shall not entertain any action in personam to enforce a claim to which this section applies until any proceedings previously brought by the plaintiff in any court outside India against the same defendant in respect of the same incident or series of incidents have been discontinued or have otherwise come to an end.
(3) The provisions of sub-section (2) shall apply to counter-claims as they apply to actions except counter-claims in proceedings arising out of the same incident or series of incidents.
(4) A reference to the plaintiff and the defendant for the purpose of sub-section (3) shall be construed as reference to the plaintiff in the counter-claim and the defendant in the counter-claim respectively.
(5) The provisions of sub-sections (2) and (3) shall not apply to any action or counter-claim if the defendant submits or agrees to submit to the jurisdiction of the High Court.
(6) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the High Court shall have jurisdiction to entertain an action in personam to enforce a claim to which this section applies whenever any of the conditions specified, in clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section (1) is satisfied and any law for the time being in force relating to the service of process outside the jurisdiction shall apply.