If you are found in possession of live ammunition along with a valid arms licence, can an offence under S. 25 of Arms Act still be registered against you? Del HC resolves

Delhi High Court: Deciding a matter of whether an NRI person in possession of two live ammunitions with a valid license can be registered under Section 25 of Arms Act or not, Asha Menon, J., held that, prima facie no malafide intent was found and the licence found was a valid arms licence.

A petition was filed for quashing an FIR under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 registered at IGI Airport, Delhi.

Submission of petitioner’s counsel was that he was a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and travelling from Delhi to Dubai when two live ammunitions were detected in his check-in-baggage. It was found that he had a valid licence.

Prosecution alleged that he was not in conscious possession of the cartridges.

Analysis, Law and Decision


High Court cited the decisions of this Court in Davinder Singh Dhindsa v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7895, Jasbir Chahal v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 8839 and Dhanwant Kaur v. State, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 5492, where 1 or 2 live cartridges have been found in the possession of the accused, have taken a view that mens rea or mala fide intention must be present supporting a “conscious possession plea” of the prosecution and in the absence of any such evidence, even prima facie, there would be no reason to deny the relief to the petitioner.

Bench found a valid arms licence in the possession of the petitioner and the bullets recovered were relatable to the licensed weapon.

No prima facie evidence was found that he had any mala fide intent in keeping the ammunition and the safety of the passengers was not threatened. The possession was not conscious.

In view of the above discussion, the petition was allowed and FIR under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 along with other proceedings emanating therefrom was quashed. [Karamjit Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2022 SCC OnLine Del 800, decided on 22-3-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Ajay Pal Tushir, Advocate

For the Respondent: Avi Singh, ASC with Karan Dhalla and Mizba, Advocates for State with SI Ramesh Chand, PS IGI Airport

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