Petroleum and Natural Gas
- The Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Rights of Users in Land Amendment) Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 16, 2010 by the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Murli Deora. The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas, which is scheduled to submit its report within three months.
- The Bill seeks to amend the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Rights of Users in Land) Act, 1962, which provides for the acquisition of right of user in land for laying pipelines for the transport of petroleum and minerals.
There has been large number of incidents of pilferage and sabotage of pipelines. To curb such incidents the Bill provides for more stringent punishment.
- The Bill enhances punishment for any person making unauthorised connection with a pipeline or damages the pipeline or extracts petroleum from the pipeline or disrupts supplies to ten years imprisonment and a fine. For subsequent offences the person shall be liable to rigorous imprisonment between three to ten years. In the Act, the punishment varied between six months and three years.
- If any person destroys or damages a pipeline by fire or explosive substance with the intent to commit sabotage or cause death of a person, he shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for 10 years which may extend to life imprisonment or death.
The Bill seeks to make these offences cognizable and non-bailable.
- The central government may confer the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute (as exercisable by a police officer) on any of its officers.
- The burden of proof is on the person who possesses the petroleum products and tools used in committing the crime.
The prosecution shall be given the opportunity to oppose bond or bail of a person accused or convicted of a crime under the Act.