No. G/Amend/12879.—In exercise of powers conferred under Section 16(2A) of The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017, the Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Judges of the Bombay High Court are hereby pleased to direct following amendment to the “Bombay High Court (Original Side) Rules, 1980";
SPECIAL JURISDICTION: ADMIRALTY JURISDICTION
RULES FOR REGULATING THE PROCEDURE AND PRACTICE IN CASES BROUGHT BEFORE THE HIGH COURT UNDER THE ADMIRALTY (JURISDICTION AND SETTLEMENT OF MARITIME CLAIMS) ACT, 2017.
(a) “Suit in rem” means an Admiralty action in rem;
(b) “Court” means the High Court of Judicature at Bombay;
(c) “Judge” means a Judge of the court exercising admiralty jurisdiction and powers under the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017;
(d) “Limitation action” means a suit commenced for setting up a limitation fund under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 as amended from time to time;
(e) “Officer designated by Registrar-General” means the Admiralty Registrar of the court;
(f) “Registry” means the office of the Registrar(O.S.)/Prothonotary and Senior Master;
(g) “Sheriff’ means Sheriff of Mumbai or Deputy Sheriff or other officer who may be appointed to execute the process of the court;
(h) “Suit” means any suit, action or other proceeding instituted in the court in its admiralty Jurisdiction.
(2) The words and expressions used herein but not defined and defined in the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime claims) Act, 2017 and the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in those Acts.
(a) A ship may be arrested under a warrant of arrest issued pursuant to an order of arrest made by the court.
(b) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a warrant of arrest shall be issued pursuant to an order of arrest made by the court and may be executed only by the Sheriff.
(c) The court may dispense with issue or service of any warrant of arrest if the circumstances so require, in which event the ship shall be deemed to be arrested upon service of the order of arrest made by the court. The order of arrest shall be served in the same manner as a warrant of arrest on in such other manner as the Judge may direct.
(a) to accept service having entered a caveat or otherwise; or
(b) to give security or to pay money into court; or
(c) where the warrant of arrest or the order of arrest is served on the ship.
(a) In a suit in rem, writ of summons, warrant of arrest or order of arrest shall be served on the ship against which the suit is brought.
(b) Service shall be effected by serving the original writ of summons or warrant of arrest or order of arrest on the master of the ship or as otherwise directed by the Judge.
(c) The plaintiff shall serve a copy of the plaint and all other proceedings and documents upon the advocate who claims to represent the ship or its owner upon the advocate giving an undertaking to enter appearance on behalf of the ship and/or its owner.
(a) Any person desiring to prevent the arrest of any ship shall file in the registry a praecipe, signed by himself or his Advocate, who may be acting for him, requesting for entering caveat against the arrest of such ship and undertaking to enter appearance in person or by vakalatnama in any suit that may be instituted against such ship and undertaking to give security in such suit in a sum not exceeding the amount to be stated in the praecipe or to pay into the registry such sum. The caveat shall contain the name, address and email address of the caveator and/or his advocate, as the case may be. Caveat against issue of a warrant or order of arrest of such ship shall thereupon be entered in a book to be kept in the registry, called “Caveat Warrant Book”. The Caveat Warrant Book shall state the amount of security that the Caveator has undertaken to provide as per the praecipe.
(b) The fact that there is a caveat against arrest in force shall not event a party from applying for a warrant or order of arrest and the ship to which the caveat relates, arrested without notice to the Caveator. Where any ship with respect to which a caveat against arrest is in force is arrested in pursuance of a warrant or order of arrest, the person at whose instance the caveat has been entered may apply to the court by way of an interim application for an order under this rule and, on the hearing of the application, the court, unless it is satisfied that the person procuring the arrest of the ship had a good and sufficient reason for so doing, may order discharge of the warrant or order of arrest and may also order such person to pay to the applicant, damages in respect of the loss suffered by the applicant as a result of the arrest.
Provided that the court may on good cause shown and on such terms as to payment of costs, as it may impose, extend the time for giving security or paying money into the registry.
(a) Where a ship against which a suit in rem is brought is under arrest or money representing the proceeds of sale of that ship is in court, a person who has interest in that ship or money but who is not a defendant to the suit may, with the leave of the Judge, intervene in the suit.
(b) An application for grant of leave under this rule may be made ex-parte by an affidavit showing the interest of the applicant in the ship against which the suit is brought or in the money held in court.
(c) A person to whom leave is granted to intervene shall thereupon become a party to the suit and shall file an appearance in person or by vakalatnama within the period specified in the order granting leave. On filing such appearance or vakalatnama, the intervener shall be treated as if he were a defendant in the suit.
(d) The Judge may order that a person to whom he grants leave to intervene in a suit, shall, within such period as may be specified in the order, serve on every other party to the suit such pleading as may be specified.
(a) Where in a suit in rem the ship proceeded against is sold and the sale proceeds are paid into court, any party who has obtained or obtains a decree or judgment against such ship or proceeds of sale may apply to the court by interim application for an order determining the order of priority of claims against the proceeds of sale of such ship.
(b) All persons who have filed caveats against payment out of sale proceeds of the ship shall be joined in the interim application and be heard.
(c) The order of priorities shall be in accordance with the provisions of Sections 9 and 10 of the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017 read with these rules.
(d) When an application is made under sub-rule (a), the Sheriff shall send for publication in such newspapers as the court may direct, a notice complying with the provisions of sub-rule (e).
(e) The notice referred to in sub-rule (d) shall state—
(i) that the ship (particulars to be specified) has been sold by an order of the High court in a suit in rem giving the number of the suit and the names of the parties to the suit;
(ii) that the gross proceeds of the sale, specifying the amount thereof, have been paid into court;
(iii) that the order of priority of claims against the sale proceeds will not be determined until after the expiration of the period (specifying it) specified in the order ;
(iv) that any person having a claim against the ship or the proceeds of sale thereof, should file a suit to prove his claim before the expiration of that period.
(f) The Sheriff shall lodge in the registry a copy of each newspaper in which the notice referred to in sub-rule (e) has appeared.
(g) The expenses incurred by the Sheriff in complying with an order of the court under this rule shall be included in his expenses relating to the sale of the ship. Any expense incurred by the Sheriff, shall, at the first instance, be paid by the party at whose request the order under sub-rule (a) is made. The party shall be entitled to be reimbursed such expenses incurred from the sale proceeds paid into court after taxation by the Taxing Master of the court or as directed by the court.
(h) An application to extend the period referred to in sub-rule (e) (iii) shall be made by interim application in the suit in which any order for determination of priorities is sought, with notice to all persons who have filed a suit against the ship or its sale proceeds or have filed a caveat against payment of sale proceeds of the ship.
Notwithstanding what is stated in Rule 1087 the court, on an application of any party who has a claim against the ship or its sale proceeds, may, after the sale proceeds are paid into court, direct the Sheriff to send for publication in such newspapers as the court may direct a notice in accordance with sub- Rule (e). Sub-rules (f), (g) and (h) shall apply to such notice.
(a) at the request of the Plaintiff, and after notice to all persons whose caveats entered in the Caveat Release Book are valid before an appearance in person or a vakalatnama is filed by the defendant; or
(b) on the defendant or an intervenor who has interest in the arrested ship, furnishing security - (i) by paying into court the amount ordered by the court to be deposited by way of security in the suit; or
(ii) by providing a bank guarantee in the suit in accordance with Rule 1102 for such amount as may be ordered by the court; or
(iii) in such amount or in such manner as may be agreed between the parties.
(c) On any other ground that the court may deem just and proper on an application made for release of the arrested ship.
before the Taxing Master on the taxation of the account of expenses, and an objection to the taxation shall be heard in the same manner as an objection to accounts filed before the Commissioner for Taking Accounts.
Fees for or on
Fees for serving each summons or notice to a defendant
or a witness.
Fees for executing a warrant of arrest or order of arrest.
Fees for serving any injunction, order or process not
otherwise provided for.
(a) Limitation of Liability.— Any application for limitation of liability filed under Part XA of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, as amended, shall be by way of a suit as contemplated in this Chapter.
(b) Person seeking relief to be plaintiff.— In a limitation action the person seeking relief shall be the plaintiff and shall be described in the plaint by his name.
(c) Plaintiffs to make as defendant/s person/s with claims or possible claims.— The Plaintiff shall make one or more or all known persons with claims or possible claims against him in respect of the casualty/occurrence to which the action relates, Defendant(s) to the Suit.
(d) Defendant(s) to be named.— All persons to be named as defendants, as provided under Sub Rule (c), must be named in the suit by their names. At least one defendant to the action must be named in the suit by his name but the other defendant(s) may be described generally (if not by their names).
(e) Service of writ of summons.—The writ of summons in a limitation action must be served on one or more of the defendants who are named by their names therein.
(f) Publication of institution of suit.—
(i) In addition to service of writ of summons, publication of the institution of the suit and the cause of action, reliefs claimed and the returnable date of writ of summons shall be made as prescribed in the court’s general rules, the web site of the court, one vernacular newspaper at Mumbai and also in Lloyds List, London or Trade Winds, London or as directed by the court.
(ii) Where the casualty has arisen in a foreign country, the court may in its discretion direct that the publication must also be made in a local newspaper in that country.
(a) The names and addresses of the defendants who have been served with the writ of summons along with proof of service attached thereto;
(b) Proof of publication as provided in Rule 1107 above.
SHIP ARREST IN INDIA
ADMIRALTY LAWS OF INDIA
Dr. Shrikant Pareshnath Hathi and Ms. Binita Hathi,
Partners, Brus Chambers, Advocates & Solicitors
Fourteenth Edition (2021)