Sunday, 19 July 2015

Indian Space Law | Outer Space Treaty of 1967

Why in news?
The roundtable was organised by the National Law School of India University - discussion on space law held.

What currently regulates the 'Space' activities of India ?


  • A handful of international space agreements, 
  • the Constitution, 
  • national laws, 
  • the Satellite Communications (SatCom) Policy of 2000 and the revised 
  • Remote sensing policy of 2011.

India is among the five countries that do not have a space law; while 15 others including the US, Russia, Japan, China, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, have laws based broadly on the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

Need for a Space law in India:
Need to regulate the ever-increasing magnitude of activities in space

  • A law was needed to ensure that space assets and applications are used for the right causes.
  • Today you can take images of almost anything on Earth. 
  • Broadcasting and Internet have grown tremendously. 
  • There are 15,000 objects in space orbits [that can threaten working satellites.] 
  • The future will be much more complex as space tourism gets popular. 
  • In this region, India is the only custodian of remote sensing data
What would the new law comprise?
  • A regulator, 
  • registration and licence of private operators, 
  • compensation for harm caused by space objects, 
  • insurance, 
  • investor disputes, 
  • rescue of space tourists, 
  • environmental damage and 
  • handling of intellectual property issues.

Outer Space Treaty of 1967

Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies

The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles:
  • the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
  • outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
  • outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
  • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
  • the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
  • astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
  • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
  • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
  • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

[Source: UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, The Hindu]

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