The Union Cabinet today approved a bill provisioning death penalty or life imprisonment to those involved in piracy at sea, official sources said.
They said the proposed anti maritime piracy law is aimed at promoting the safety and security of India's maritime trade including the safety of its crew members.
The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard have been dealing with increasing incidents of piracy in critical sea lanes.
The sources said the government is bringing the law as part of commitment made by India while signing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982. The UNCLOS was ratified by India in 1995.
"The objective of the Bill is to have a domestic anti-piracy legislation to provide the necessary legal framework within the country for prosecution of persons for piracy-related crimes," said a source.
"Under the provisions of the bill, the act of committing piracy is punishable by death or life imprisonment," it said, adding that the current punishment is not very harsh.
The proposed law also contains provisions to protect actions taken by officials in good faith and will supplement efforts of the Navy to contain piracy, the sources said.