Legal Compliance for Companies involved in the business of Drones & Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s): Best Corporate Lawyer Advice
“The Government of India has come up with the new Drone Rules of 2021 and the entire industry has for the first time been streamlined. Although, at present there is/are no specific legislation or law for Drones & UAVs in India yet this is the first step taken to legalize the entire drone and the UAV industry and to bring this under the direct purview of certain legal compliances and/or legal obligations. The industry has to be streamlined looking into the potential and the vast usage seen in the recent years and specific laws should be made to regulate the drone and the UAVs. The Corporations who are into this industry should obtain proper legal advice from the best corporate lawer to avoid non-compliance.”
With the new Drone Rules in order, various kinds of approvals and licenses have been abolished, the process to apply and register drones have been made easier. In addition, reduction of fees to a nominal amount and increase in coverage of drones have ushered a new dynamic for the businesses and companies engaged in this field.
These are the final rules, propounded by the Ministry of civil aviation that requires basic standards to be maintained. In a recent event, Prime minister of India, hailed and eulogized the new rules and voiced it as a medium of growth of the youth indulged in this field and further heralded to a catapulted growth for companies and businesses intending to develop in this arena. India is visioned to become the world drone hub by the year 2024. To establish as a company in the business of drones, one must register their Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in a manner as prescribed by the rules, 2021. In light of this, this article will focus upon the legal compliances required by the companies involved in the business of drones and Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s).
Important Legal Compliances for Companies involved in the business of Drones & Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s): Best Corporate Lawyer Advice
For companies, who are already engaged or are intending to engage, in the business of drones must comply with the following provisions of the Drone Rules, 2021. The following provisions becomes absolutely indispensable for the companies to abide by, for the use of drones in India. These provisions are -:
Obtaining Certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)-Type Certification: To be able to use drones in India, it is a paramount condition to get a type certificate for the Unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Section 6 of Part III of the Drone Rules, 2021 imposes a general obligation on the operator to conform to a type certificate, unless exempted from requirement under these rules. As per the rules, the Director General or any other entity authorized on his behalf. is entitled to issue the type certificate for the Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Companies or entities, who intends to obtain a type certificate must apply by filing through form D-1 on the Digital sky platform along with the requisite fee as specified in Rule 46. The form must entail the particulars of the applicant along with the details and required documents in respect of the prototype Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Further, the prototype model of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) must be physically handed over to the authorized testing entity for verification as such. After verification conducted by the Quality Council of India or any other authorized entity, the same proposal will be submitted to the Director-General, within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application. Director–General, on the basis of the test report along with the recommendations received, after being satisfied, will issue a type certificate for the specific type of Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), within 15 days of receiving such reports.
Mandatory Safety Features: Any company involved in any business of drones, must adopt the safety features, as mentioned under sub clause–(1) of Section -12, within a period of 6 months from the date of application. Section 12(1) of the Drone Rules, 2021 states that, the following safety measures must be inducted in the specific Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). These are -:
a) No permission- No Takeoff hardware and Firmware
b) Real time tracking beacon that communicates the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) location, altitude, speed, and the Unique Identification Number (UIN)
c) Geo-Fencing Capability
Registration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Part IV of the Drone Rules, 2021 makes it obligatory upon the operator to register its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on the Digital Sky Platform and obtain a Unique Identification number under these rules. Further, the person or entity operating an Unmanned Aircraft System must ensure that such Unmanned Aircraft system (UAS) conforms to a Valid Type Certificate. A person or entity owning an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) must comply with the provisions of Section 15. For registration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), a person who is the owner of such machinery must make an application in Form D-2 on the ‘Digital Sky Platform’ and must pay the requisite fee, as enlisted under Rule 46. In addition, the person is also required to provide requisite details of its prototype including the Unique Identification Number (UIN) and the Type Certificate to which such Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) conforms to. In case of registration of drones, a company or an individual owning or is in possession of an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), manufactured in or imported in India, on or before 30th November, shall within a period of 30 days, make an application for registration of existing drones. The application to registration must be made by providing requisite details in Form D-2 on the ‘Digital Sky Platform’ and must pay the requisite fee, as enlisted under Rule 46. Section 16 is to be referred in this regard.
Safe Operation: Section 26 of the Drone Rules, 2021, provides for the safe operation of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). It states that any person or company, operating the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) must not endanger the safety and security of any other person or property.
Prohibition on Carriage of Arms, Ammunitions, Explosives, and Military Stores etc.: Section 27 of the Drone Rules, 2021 draws caution on companies or entities engaged in the business of drones, for carrying arms, ammunitions, explosives, military stores, within or over India, except with the written permission of the Central Government.
Prohibition on Carriage of Dangerous Goods: It is exigent to note that, neither of companies nor other entities can carry dangerous goods on the Unmanned aircraft system, unless specified by the Aircraft (Carriage of dangerous goods) rules, 2003.
Right of Way: Section 29 of the Drone Rules, 2021 provides that any person or entity operating an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), must not violate the right of way of a manned aircraft and must remain clear of all manned aircrafts.
Mandatory Reporting of Accidents: This is mandatory provision, requiring companies and entities engaged in the business of drones to report an accident (if and any) within 48 hours after an accident involving unmanned aircraft systems takes place. The remote pilot of such Unmanned Aircraft System shall report the accident to the Director General through the Digital Sky Platform.
Remote Pilot License: As per this provision, individual or companies must possess a valid remote pilot license enlisted on the ‘Digital Sky Platform’ to operate the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). From a company’s perspective, a remote pilot license can only be attained when one has successfully completed such training as specified by the Director General, from any authorized remote pilot training organization. Such training must be completed under the aegis of authorized pilot training organization. Within seven days of successful completion of the training and passing of the tests, the authorized remote pilot training organization shall make an application for remote pilot license in form D-4 on the digital sky platform along with the feel as specified in Rule 46. To know more about this provision, Section 34 of the Drone Rules, 2021 is to be referred.
Payment of Requisite Fees: Section 46 of the Drone Rules, 2021, categorically demarcates between the fees payable for the purposes as enlisted under this legislation. For issuance of certificate, Issuance, transfer or deregistration of Unique Identification Number, Issuance of remote pilot license the requisite amount payable is Rs 100. For Authorization or renewal of authorization of remote pilot organization the fee payable is Rs 1,000
From the aforementioned provisions it is clear that, for companies engaged in the business of drones must ensure the compliance of the provisions and realize the same into fruition. A business that fails to abide by, will not be eligible to fly Drones in India.
Authored By: Adv. Anant Sharma & Anchita Saxena