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Section 6 – The Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act,1976

The Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act,1976

Section 6. Continental shelf

(1) The continental shelf of India (hereinafter referred to as the continental shelf) comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond the limit of its territorial waters throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin or to a distance of two hundred nautical miles from the baseline referred to in sub-section (2) of section 3 where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance.

(2) India has, and always had, full and exclusive sovereign rights in respect of its continental shelf.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (2), the Union has in the continental shelf,-

(a) Sovereign rights for the purposes of exploration, exploitation, conservation and management of all resources;

(b) Exclusive rights and jurisdiction for the construction, maintenance or operation of artificial islands, off-shore terminals, installations and other structure and devices necessary for the exploration and exploitation of the resources of the continental shelf or for the convenience of shipping or for any other purpose;

(c) Exclusive jurisdiction to authorise, regulate and control scientific research; and

(d) Exclusive jurisdiction to preserve and protect the marine environment and to prevent and control marine pollution.

(4) No person (including a foreign Government) shall, except under, and in accordance with, the terms of a licence or a letter of authority granted by the Central Government, explore the continental shelf or exploit its resources or carry out any search or excavation or conduct any research within the continental shelf or drill therein or construct, maintain or operate any artificial island, off-shore terminal, installation or other structure or device therein for any purpose whatsoever.

(5) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette,-

(a) Declare any area of the continental shelf and its superjacent waters to be a designated area; and

(b) Make such provisions as it may deem necessary with respect to,-

(i) The exploration, exploitation and protection of the resources of the continental shelf within such designated area; or

(ii) The safety and protection of artificial islands, off-shore terminals, installations and other structures and devices in such designated area; or

(iii) The protection of marine environment of such designated area; or

(iv) Customs and other fiscal matters in relation to such designated area.

Explanation

A notification issued under this sub-section may provide for the regulation of entry into and passage through the designated area of foreign ships by the establishment of fairways, seaplanes, traffic separation schemes or any other mode of ensuring freedom of navigation which is not prejudicial to the interests of India.

(6) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette,-

(a) Extend with such restrictions and modifications as it thinks fit, any enactment for the time being in force in India or any part thereof to the continental shelf or any part [including any designated area under sub-section (5)] thereof; and

(b) Make such provisions as it may consider necessary for facilitating the enforcement of such enactment,

And any enactment so extended shall have effect as if the continental shelf or the part [including, as the case may be, any designated area under sub-section (5)] thereof to which it has been extended is a part of the territory of India.

(7) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (2) and subject to any measures that may be necessary for protecting the
interests of India, the Central Government may not impede the laying or maintenance of submarine cables or pipelines on the continental shelf by foreign States:

Provided that the consent of the Central Government shall be necessary for the delineation of the course for the laying of such cables or pipelines.

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The Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act,1976

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