High Court (India)

June 03, 2019

Delhi High Court Quashes 'Make In India' Notification Giving Preferential Commercial Treatment To Ships Built In India

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Delhi High Court has quashed a notification under the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ program, which provided preferential commercial treatment to ships built in India.

The Merchant Shipping Act 1958 is concerned only with the ownership of the ship and not at all concerned with the place where the ship was built, the court stated.

Samson Maritime Ltd had filed a petition arguing that a central notification in February and a subsequent circular in March under Sections 406 and 407 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, allowed an “Indian Built Ship” to get higher commercial rights than an Indian Flag Vessel.

However, the court stated that the petition sought to create a scenario where an Indian Flag Vessel owned and offered by an Indian company is placed on the same pedestal as a Foreign Flag Vessel offered by an Indian company in its capacity as a mere “charterer”, which does not require registration under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

Indian ships are a class by themselves and equalization of Indian ships with foreign flag ships amounts to treating unequals equally, which would violate Article 14 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, the court stated.

In the garb of the the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ program, the respondent cannot efface the statute and incorporate a totally new and alien concept and category which is not recognized by the Act itself, the court stated.

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