HP HC | Arms Licenses cannot be granted to be used as status symbol of the applicants; Powers under S. 17(3) of Arms Act exercised, applicant being guilty of ‘suppressio veri suggestio falsi’  

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua JJ. dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

The facts in a nutshell are that the petitioner apprehending threat applied for an arms license for self protection and was issued thereto dated 25-07-2003 for SBBL Gun No.42029 by the District Magistrate Hamirpur, H.P. Thereafter petitioner again applied for an arms license which was issued thereto dated 29-07-2004 for .32 bore revolver No. FG32206. On routine scrutiny of the arms license records the respondents found that the petitioner while applying for .32 bore revolver licence had concealed material information about his being already in possession of an Arms licence. Therefore, in exercise of powers under Section 17(3) (c) of the Act, the respondents vide order dated 22.7.2013 suspended petitioner’s Arms Licence for a period of six months. Aggreived by the cancellation of both licenses dated 02-09-2013 and 03-09-2013 respectively, present petition has been filed quashing the same and challenging the order of Appellate authority which has dismissed his appeal being devoid of merits.

Counsel for the respondent Ashok Sharma, Vikas Rathore, Vinod Thakur, Shiv Pal, Manhans,  Seema Sharma, Bhupinder Thakur and Yudhvir Singh Thakur, submitted that while scrutinizing the renewal of licenses the details were sent to station house for verification where it was found that the petitioner is habitually involved in social misconduct. FIR’s have been instituted in his name under Sections 332, 341, 342, 353, 363, 366, 376, 392, 504 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860. It was further submitted that after license being cancelled and new FIR was instituted under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the Penal Code, 1860 against the petitioner. Consequent to this, a show-cause was sent under Section 17 of the Arms Act, as to why his already suspended Arms Licence be not cancelled in view of suppression of relevant facts by him while applying the second time for the Arms Licence but no satisfactory reply was obtained.

Counsel for the petitioner Devendra K. Sharma pleaded ignorance of law for alleged suppression of relevant details.

The Court observed that being guilty of ‘suppressio veri suggestio falsi’ i.e. false representation ‘the plea of ignorance of law’ cannot come to the rescue of the petitioner.

The Court held that due to suppression of material information about his previous Arms Licence while obtaining second Arms Licence and being involved in various FIRs alongwith being a perceived threat to the peace in the area no fault was found in the action of the respondents in cancelling both of his Arms Licences in accordance with provisions of the Arms Act.

In view of the above, petition stands dismissed.[Chamal Lal v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 1844, decided on 06-10-2020]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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