Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Suresh Kumar Kait, J., addresses a matter revolving around the possession of ammunition by a person which he/she is unconscious of.

Instant matter was filed with regard to the quashing of an FIR registered at the police station – I.G.I Airport for the offences punishable under Section 25 of Arms Act, 1959.

Petitioner submitted that while waiting for his flight from Delhi to Lucknow, his baggage was put for screening wherein one live cartridge of .32bore with S&WL (KF) live ammunition was detected. It was added that he was not in conscious possession of the live bullet detected, since the petitioner could not produce any valid license for the ammunition, FIR was registered.

Though, during the investigation petitioner produced a valid arms license issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh and the same was found to be genuine, therefore the FIR deserved to be quashed.

“It is well settled that where a person is not conscious of the ammunition in his possession, an offence of under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 would not be made out.”

The above-settled position was drawn in view of the following decisions:

  • Surender Kumar v. State (GNCT of Delhi), WP (Crl.) 2143 of 2019, decided on 27-09-2019
  • Aruna Chaudhary v. State, WP (Crl.) 1975 of 2019, decided on 25-09-2019
  • Paramdeep Singh Sran v. State (NCT of Delhi), WP (Crl.) 152 of 2019, decided on 29-08-2019.

In view of the above decisions, Section 25 of the Arms Act was converted into Section 30 of the Arms Act in light of the petitioner holding a valid Arms License.

In the present matter, the prosecution’s case was not that there was a firearm recovered from the petitioner or there was any threat to anyone at the airport, hence the possession of the ammunition was unconscious and there was no threat to anyone.

Therefore, FIR registered at Police Station – IGI Airport were quashed. [Narendra Kumar Gupta v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 2335, decided on 18-05-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Ajay P. Tushir, Adv. with Varun Malik, Adv.

For the Respondent: Kamna Vohra, ASC for the State

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Suresh Kumar Kait, J., disposed of a petition filed against the FIR filed for offences punishable under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of Arms Act, 1959, wherein it held that,

“The possession of the ammunition was unconscious and there was no threat to anyone.”

In the present case, the petitioner sought the quashing of an FIR for the offences punishable under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of Arms Act, 1959.

The above-said FIR was filed by the petitioner pertaining to the following facts; petitioner was travelling from Delhi to Amsterdam, when 01 ammunition was recovered from his handbag subsequent to which FIR was registered.

Petitioner stated that since he had to rush to Delhi from his native Punjab to reach on time for his flight he got the handbag without thoroughly checking the contents and therefore he himself could not have known the presence of the cartridge in his luggage/hand baggage. Further, it duly verified and mentioned by the petitioner during the IO investigation that the said cartridge belonged to the petitioner and he had Arms License valid in Punjab.

Advocate Jaspreet Singh Rai, representing the petitioner, relied on the decision of Chan Hong Sai v. State, 2012 SCC OnLine Del 3320, wherein it was held that, “A Single cartridge without a firearm is minor ammunition which is protected under clause (d) of Section 45 of the Arms Act.” Though the larger bench did not agree with the above opinion and stated that the possession of the ammunition was unconscious and there was no arm with the accused and there was no threat to anyone, thus the Court rightly quashed the FIR.

Decision

In the present case, High Court relying on the above facts and circumstances stated it is not the case of the prosecution that there was firearm recovered from the petitioner or there was any threat to anyone at the Airport.

Thus, the Court quashed the FIR in the present case and held that “possession of the ammunition was unconscious and there was no threat to anyone.” [Baljit Singh Chahal v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 10989, decided on 07-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Anu Sivaraman, J. allowed a civil writ petition seeking quashing of an order whereby petitioner’s application for renewal of arms licence was rejected.

Learned counsel for the petitioner Mr K.R. Sunil submitted that the reason stated for rejection was that the petitioner could not convince the authority of need for arms licence. The same was untenable under Section 14 of the Arms Act, 1959.

Counsel for the respondent Mr E.S. Ashraf submitted that enquiry conducted by the respondent showed that petitioner was in his 70’s and did not require a gun as he was neither facing any threat nor using the arm for agricultural purpose. As per, circular dated 31-02-2010 issued by the Central Ministry of Human Affairs request for arms licences shall be considered only if persons face or perceive grave and imminent threat to their lives. Therefore, the rejection order was valid.

The Court opined that that reasons stated for non-consideration of petitioner’s application for renewal were not referable to Section 14 of the Act. It relied on various judgments of this Court, few being, Jose Kuttiyany v. Land Revenue Commission, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 15730 and C. Chandran Nair v. Additional District Magistrate, 2014 SCC OnLine Ker 23940 to observe that the only reasons for rejection of an application for renewal of licence would be that the issuance or the renewal thereof is prohibited by the Arms Act, if the applicant of unsound mind and if he is, for any reason, unfit for a licence under the Arms Act. 

In view of the above, the petition was allowed, directing the respondent to reconsider petitioner’s application for renewal of arms licence with reference to Section 14 of the Arms Act and binding judgments of this Court, and pass an order thereon within a period of one month.[T.K. Haridasan v. District Collector, Ernakulam,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5359, decided on 12-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Allowing petition filed by member of a political party challenging revocation of his arms license by the Police Commissioner, the Division Bench of Naresh H. Patil and Prakash D. Naik JJ. held that revocation of arms license for the security of public peace or for public safety under Sec. 17(3)(b) of the Arms Acts, 1959 requires more material than a mere registration of criminal case and cannot be exercised lightly in an arbitrary manner.

The counsel for the petition pleaded that there had been no incidence of misuse of the weapon and no criminal action against the petitioner had arisen in last ten years during the continuation of the license. The show-cause and the order for revocation erroneous and did not reflect subjective satisfaction. It was contended on behalf of the respondent authorities that the criminal records had been looked into when report was required for All India license to the petitioner and when the inquiry revealed a number of cases in the criminal record, the authorities issued a show-cause notice and subsequently revoked the license.

While passing the order, the Court examined  Sec. 13 and 17 of the Arms Act relating to grant and revocation of license and held that the Licensing authority can revoke a license under Sec 17(3)(b) on being subjectively satisfied that continuation of the license endangers public peace and security. However, in the present case, there had been no incidence of misuse of the weapon and the authorities lacked enough material to pass an order for revocation. The authority is required to record the circumstances under which the possession of arms license was contrary to provision of Section 17 of Arms Act, and mere registration of criminal case would not attract the provision. Therefore, the Court passed an order quashing the order of revocation by Commissioner of Police and the order passed in appeal by the Home Ministry of the State Government. The Court  also directed Commissioner of Police, Pune to consider whether any ground enumerated under Section 17(b) of the Arms Act, 1959 for cancelling the Arms licence granted to the petitioner still exists . In case no such circumstances exist, the Court directed to renew Petitioner’s arms license. [Ajay Jayawant Bhosale v. Commissioner of Police, Pune and State of Maharashtra 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 5019, decided on 15 July, 2016]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Andhra Pradesh High Court: While dealing with the question relating to grant of Arms license, the Court quashed the order of State Government of rejecting the application of Petitioner for grant of Arms License.

The Petitioner in this case had filed an application before the Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad Commissionerate which was rejected. The State Government also rejected the application in its appeal phase. Learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the impugned order is highly illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable, violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India and opposed to the very spirit and object of the provisions of the Arms Act, 1959. But the learned Government Pleader vehemently contended that the impugned rejection order is in accordance with the provisions of the Arms Act, 1959. The bench comprising of A. V. Sesha Sai J minutely studied various sections of The Arms Act and analyzed that the  intention of the legislature is that the licensing authority should apply his mind while considering the request of the applicant for grant of Arms License and to arrive at a decision independently, taking into account facts and circumstances of the case and basing on the material available. The Court finally concluded that  the said order, is opposed to and not in conformity with the provisions of law, as such, the said order cannot be sustained.

 The Court also took account of the test to be applied by the licensing authority in considering grant of arms license which was laid down in another Judgment that is  whether the applicant has established his credentials as a law abiding person leading a peaceful life without any criminal record and whether any circumstances exist by which it can be reasonably presumed that there is a potential danger of misuse of the weapon leading to breach of peace and safety of the society. Once these two tests are satisfied an application for grant of license shall not ordinarily be rejected.  In the instant case, the State Government did not consider properly the relevant provisions of the legislation and the material available on record and the principles laid down in the above referred judgment and was thus quashed. [Kolan narasimha Reddy v.  State of Andhra Pradesh 2016 SCC OnLine Hyd 153, decided on 14.06.2016]