Sunday, March 26, 2023

Space Laws in India


Similar to general international law, space law is made up of a range of treaties, conventions, international agreements, decisions of the UN General Assembly, and rules and guidelines of international organisations.

In recent years, India has advanced significantly in both space technology and exploration. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has worked with various other nations on space exploration projects and has achieved many technological breakthroughs in the field of space exploration, including the launch of missions to Mars and the Moon.

 It is necessary to establish a strong legislative framework to oversee space activities in India given the expanding significance of space technology and exploration.

International Legal Framework:

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the Liability Convention of 1972,The Rescue Agreement of 1968
 and the Registration Convention of 1975  are only a few of the international treaties and agreements India is a party  that pertain to space operations. 

These treaties and agreements establish certain principles for the peaceful use of space, such as the ban on putting Weapons of mass destructions in orbit and the duty to ensure that space activities are carried out in a responsible and environmentally sustainable manner. They also offer a basic legal framework for space activities.

Domestic Legal Framework:

The Indian Space Research Organization was established 1969 and its policies on Satellite Communication and Remote Sensing serve as the cornerstones of the legal framework governing space activities in India . 

The satellite Communication Policy includes the norms, guidelines and procedures for implementation of the policy frame-work for satellite communications in India  and Remote Sensing Policy provides much essential and critical information - which is an input for developmental activities at different levels, and is also of benefit to society.

The Indian government has established the Department of Space to oversee the country's space program. This department has the responsibility of managing a number of agencies and institutes that are involved in various aspects of space exploration and development of space-related technologies.

ISRO is operated under Department of Space. Furthemore, NewSpace India Limited, a wholly owned company of the Indian government, was established on March 6, 2019, under the Companies Act, 2013. It is under the administrative control of the Department of Space (DOS) and serves as the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). NSIL's main responsibility is to facilitate high-tech space-related activities for Indian industries and promote and commercialize products and services derived from the Indian space program.

Further the proposed Draft on Space Activities Bill, 2017, aims to create a legal and regulatory framework for both government and private organisations for conducting space activities. It includes many different activities, such as the launching and running of spacecraft, space research, and commercial space operations.

The proposed bill would create a licencing system for space activities, requiring businesses to apply for licences from the government before engaging in any space-related operations. It also aims to create a national registry of space objects and obliges operators to give the government details about their space items.


India's growing space program and the increasing involvement of the private sector in space activities make it necessary to have a robust legal framework to govern space activities in India. A well-designed legal framework for space activities is essential to ensure the safe and sustainable use of outer space and the continued growth and success of India's space program.

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