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Does India have an effective Space Law regime? Comparative Study of space laws in India, U.S.A. and Russia

Yes, India has an effective space law regime, India has ratified 4 UN treaties out of 5 and signed in one. Space has been a exclusive profit for public sector due to gaining of technology private companies are now taking effective measures to put their satellite in the orbit which can be made useful and beneficiary for the people of India.

In Outer Space Treaty of India one of the article state that Space is free for every single human being they can use space but they cannot own things from the space. They can travel to other celestial bodies or meteorite but no one can own that. Space should be use for the beneficiary for all the human kind and now due to approval of private companies to make or launch their own satellite and put in the orbit India has made a large number of profit due to that. On 15 February 2017 Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had launched 104 satellite in one single mission which made India in a spotlight.

According to database the first Rocket of India was launched in 1963 under the guidance of Vikram Sarabhai, subsequently India’s first satellite was launched name Aryabhatta , it is said as First Indian Scientific satellite since that Indian has been working hard in the areas of communication, broadcasting etc. Indian space market has been centralized with major investing from government. Government of India is taking a huge responsibility for the private sector for launching of satellite or supplying space vehicle parts to outer country or for the benefit of their own country. According to recent survey[1], ISRO has about 15,000 personnel in its roster and has made about 10000 million Rs. India is making a huge progress in the space activity.

Today, Indian government realized that its financial and technological burden should be shared with private sector. So as long as space activities were completely government domain, there was not a preference for national space legislation. Even though private sector is involved and if they word doesn’t mean liabilities will be private, liabilities will always public. According to international space law[2], states bear international responsibility even though private entities or non government entities makes a mistake state has to bare all the loss.

Space law of India is so effective it plays important role for the economy of the India and making a progress in space exploration, setting up satellite in orbit made beneficiary for the people of India. India’s great ability is to develop satellite, launching them and controlling that satellite from the ground and not just to put Indian satellite but commercial satellite too and because of many successful mission PM of India Narendra Modi announced to put man on space on the year 2022[3].

India is coming into more and more spotlight day by day and emerging as a very important player in term of commercial space market. So the laws of contract, transfer if property, stamp duty, registration, patent and copyright and other statues must be thoroughly revised to bring space related issue in domestic laws. There are different types of provision for participation of private satellite system but there is no legal regime to protect the operator and the government when liability happens in the case of damage, domestic laws which are present today are totally applicable especially intellectual property rights (IPR) this laws aren’t revised to include in space related matters though India has its own remote sensing data policy but yet no national law.

Later, Remote Sensing Data 2011 came into force and lifted restrictions on supply of Satellite data up to 1m resolution getting resolution clearance from the government’s High Resolution Image Clearance Committee. NRSC is the authority to acquire or disseminate remote sensing date in India for Indian or any other countries satellite for development purpose. Government of India has all the right to impose control when issues like international obligations or national security.

Though in ancient days onward India’s outer space saga started. Ancient scriptures make it evidence that outer space exploration is not a new generation technology or knowledge of India. People were more ahead in the ancient time than now it is said that through scriptures people were more educated and disciplined and if we talk about space exploration people were able to travel from planet to planet. Planets were termed as ‘grahar’ since Rigveda.

As the technology developed in modern time need and demand increased for higher resolution data and therefore there is a proper need of space policy which can be coordinated through national and international satellite data. There is so much of improvisation related to space law or space activity in India and India is competing the whole world for the exploration of space or sending satellite to mars in very first attempt and though it strengthen the space law regime, not just the national satellite are sent to space through India but International satellite is also sent and there are many satellites on orbit sent by Indian launching vehicle.

Also, Indian space program is a clearly civilian initiative and its major focus is on development society and commercial interest which plays a important role also there is no separate military space efforts or budget, India has a very impressive record in the regards of international cooperation and in the last it is the member of UN treaties.
Hence, we can clearly state that there is a very amazingly impressive effective space regime of India because it focuses on over all development and not just a particular private or public entities.

Comparative Studies Between U.S.A, Russia And India:

United States Of America:

US space related laws are compiled and mentioned in title 51 of united states code and some of the related laws to compare between three countries are mentioned below:
  1. Communication act of 1934
    This act was passed a long time ago and it was passed before the first space flight launched in US it and this act has been improvised or amended so that they can govern requirement for the commercial satellite operations, licensing and coordination in the use of radio spectrum.

  2. National Aeronautics and Space act of 1958:
    This act was signed by Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and thus this established NASA and got USA space objective and expanded the space knowledge which was required and became successful in no time. They started creating or improving space vehicle and other than they understood advantage of space exploration and also benefit from space objective and preserved United States as space leader.

  3. Land Remote sensing policy act [4]
    In 1992 law repealed the land remote sensing policy act, as it was transferred to private sector in US government owned Land sat proved problematic and this new law gave power to department of commerce to license and regulate the US commercial remote sensing and to outsource the development of new Land sat components of private sector.

  4. The Commercial space launch act
    This law was originally passed on 1984 and has been amended, the law grants the USA Department of Transportation regulatory oversight of commercial space vehicle, this informs regulations for commercial human spaceflight and it also indemnifies companies for large third party damage.

India:
The only usual thing in India is that space sector is held by government entities , the Indian Space Research Organization. Outsourcing only involves certain degree of supply and manufacture of components by some commercial industries. Recently India is poured when ISRO launched ‘make in India’[5] campaign which outsourced satellite manufactured to private sector enterprise.

Ancient days onwards India’s outer space saga starts. Ancient scriptures make it evident that outer space exploration is not a new generation technology or knowledge in India. Indian astrology is greatly related with astronomy. Science treats Sun as the centre of the solar system and do the analysis, but in Indian astrology it is geo centre – Earth is the middle point and the life of human beings on earth is affected by the position of planets in the solar system including the Sun, at the time of his or her birth.

Independent India has shown keen interest to know the celestial bodies and it started with Dr.Vikram Sarabhai, founding father of Indian Space Program during 1960s. The Indian space Research Organization (ISRO) later became the identity of India in space race and is playing a very significant role – almost like a monopolist. Recent draft of space law made by India has given away with this monopoly by allowing the private players to enter Indian space race.

India has launched rocket to mars and which is a huge success for India, India is the 4th country to send rocket to march and has been successful in first try, this mission was known as Mars orbiter mission[6] which made a pretty big deal between all the countries and made India in spotlight, countries like USA Russia etc tried many times but failed though they are successful after number of tries but India got successful within one try.

Independent India got so interested in exploration of space and finding out celestial bodies there Vikram Sarabhai founded ISRO which is Indian Space Research Organization. Vikram Sarabhai is known as the father of ISRO and later ISRO became the identity of India and now its playing a very important role and recent draft says that private sector can also enter into the space.

India has very recently made the draft of Outer Space Law (Annexure – 5 and comment given by the researcher to the Department of pace, India is attached with this document as Annexure – 6). Before the introduction of this draft majority of the country’s population was not aware whether India had any law or not in this respect; rather the only focus was ISRO with respect to Indian space activities.

Russia:
Outer space research was started here. The first bean of outer space is spilled over here and from there all other countries started space exploration. The world’s first satellite was sent from Russia name Sputinik.

Under the law of the Russian Federation about space activity, decree no. 5663-1[7] of the Russian House of Soviets, all the space activities are being regulated and amended as per need by other laws and normative acts of Russian Federation which is issued in accordance with its Constitution and this law.

Space activities compromises creating as well as transferring and using of space technique and other products and service which are really necessary for caring out all the space activity. Use of all the nuclear power and arms can be made as part of the legislation as it mentions that all other activities which are performed with the aid of space technology ,which is very vague.

Articles 2 and 3, mentions about the use of space activities for defense, pointing towards militarization of space; but through Art. 4 (2), Russia has made it very clear to the world, that it is against militarization of outer space and use of nuclear weapons or any such weapon in the outer space. The Russian Space Agency may create its territorial agencies so as to fulfill its functions, taking under consideration interests of subjects of Russia in use of results of space activity. Russia, like China, has its own plans for space exploration, including a return to human spaceflight and construction of a Russian space station independent of the ISS.

Hence, commercialization has moved its space from domestic to global space, and this the same which is needed in the case of outer space activities also from national to global perspective is needed as far as space exploration or technologies.

End-Notes:
  1. https://www.orfonline.org/research/indian-space-law-long-overdue-54867/
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14777622.2016.1239239?journalCode=fast20
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-45243908
  4. https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/CRSRA/files/1992%20Land%20Remote%20Sensing%20Policy%20Act.pdf
  5. https://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/major_initiatives/make-in-india/
  6. https://www.isro.gov.in/pslv-c25-mars-orbiter-mission
  7. https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/nationalspacelaw/russian_federation/decree_5663-1_E.html

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