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Yadu Nath Singh v. State Of U.P. Thru' Home Secy. & Ors. - WRIT - C No. 41344 of 2004  RD-AH 5985 (19 March 2006)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 41344 of 2004
Yadu Nath Singh Versus State of U.P. & others
Hon'ble Vineet Saran, J
The petitioner already possesses a D.B.B.L. arms license, which has been renewed in his favour from time to time, and lastly on 7.4.2004 for a period up to 31.12.2006. On 10.12.1999 the petitioner applied to the District Magistrate, Banda, Respondent no.2, for grant of another license of Revolver/Pistol as he is a registered government contractor and his works requires his movement from one place to another, including places in interior areas. By an order dated 1.8.2002, the District Magistrate rejected the said application of the petitioner on the ground that he already holds a license for D.B.B.L. gun. Challenging the said order, the petitioner filed an appeal, which was dismissed by the Commissioner, Chitrakoot Dham Division, Banda, Respondent no.3, on 27.3.2003. Aggrieved by the said orders the petitioner filed writ petition no. 34785 of 2003 which was allowed by this Court on 14.7.2004, and after quashing the orders dated 1.8.2002 and 27.3.2003, the licensing authority was directed to pass fresh orders on the application of the petitioner, in accordance with law, in the light of the decision of the Court dated 8.9.1999 passed in writ petition no.38002 of 1999 wherein it had been held that acquiring or possessing more than one fire arm license is not prohibited under law nor is it required for an applicant wanting to acquire a second license, to disclose the special reasons for the same. After the aforesaid decision, the licensing authority passed a fresh order on 26.8.2004, again refusing to grant the license to the petitioner for Revolver/Pistol. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order dated 26.8.2004 passed by the District Magistrate, Banda, Respondent no. 2, the petitioner has filed this writ petition.
The respondents were firstly granted a month's time on 4.10.2004 to file a counter affidavit. When the same was not filed, then on 26.4.2005 this Court granted three week's further time, and no more, to the respondents, to file the counter affidavit. Then on 25.11.2005 the case was adjourned for two weeks and it was mentioned in the order that on the next date the writ petition itself may be disposed of, even if no counter affidavit was filed. Till date the respondents have not filed any counter affidavit. Considering the fact that the respondents have already been granted sufficient time and that more than one and half years have passed since the filing of the writ petition, I am not inclined to grant any further time to the respondents to file counter affidavit and thus this writ petition is being heard and disposed of finally at this stage. I have heard Sri Kameshwar Singh, learned counsel for the petitioner, as well as learned Standing Counsel for the respondents.
The main ground for rejecting the application of the petitioner was that the Tahsildar, Banda had submitted a report on 20.8.2004 wherein it had been stated that the behaviour of the petitioner towards the government servants and public was not very good and thus there was no justification to grant a fire arm license to him, and that it would be against the interest of the public to grant a second license to him. The other ground for not granting the license, as stated in the order, was that the police report did not indicate that the petitioner had any threat to his life and property and that the petitioner had not given any reason to show that he required a license for Revolver/Pistol. It is surprising that in the teeth of the judgment of this Court passed in writ petition no.38002 of 1999, which was required to be considered by the Respondent no.2 while considering the application of the petitioner for grant of license for Revolver/Pistol, such an order has been passed. The petitioner has placed on record the police report dated 4.3.2004 wherein it has been categorically stated that there is no criminal case registered against him. Even the Tahsildar had himself reported, on 16.3.2004, that the petitioner co-operates in government works and that his behaviour with the government servants and public is very cordial. On 18.8.2004 the Executive Engineer, Public Works Department, where the petitioner works as a registered contractor, had also certified that for carrying out the construction work, the petitioner had to visit far off places in the interior areas and that his behaviour with the departmental officials was good.
The provisions with regard to the grant of license and refusal to grant such licenses are contained in Sections 13 and 14 of the Arms Act, 1959 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), whereas section 3 of the said Act provides for acquisition and possession of firearms and ammunition. Sections 3, 13 and14 of the Act are being quoted herewith as below:-
"3. Licence for acquisition and possession of firearms and ammunition. - (1) No person shall acquire, have in his possession, or carry any firearm or ammunition unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder:
Provided that a person may, without himself holding a licence, carry any firearm or ammunition in the presence, or under the written authority, of the holder of the licence for repair or for renewal of the licence or for use by such holder.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section(1), no person, other than a person referred to in sub-section (3), shall acquire, have in his possession or carry, at any time, more than three firearms:
Provided that a person who has in his possession more firearms than three at the commencement of the Arms (Amendment) Act, 1983, may retain with him any three of such firearms and shall deposit, within ninety days from such commencement, the remaining firearms with the officer in charge of the nearest police station or, subject to the conditions prescribed for the purposes of sub-section (1) of section 21, with a licensed dealer or, where such person is a member of the armed forces of the Union, in a unit armoury referred to in that sub-section.
(3) Nothing contained in sub-section (2) shall apply to any dealer in firearms or to any member of a rifle club or rifle association licensed or recognized by the Central Government using a point 22 bore rifle or an air rifle for target practice.
(4) The provisions of sub-sections (2) to (6) (both inclusive) of section 21 shall apply in relation to any deposit of firearms under the proviso to sub-section (2) as they apply in relation to the deposit of any arm or ammunition under sub-section (1) of that section.)
13. Grant of Licences.- (1) An application for the grant of a licence under Chapter II shall be made to the licensing authority and shall be in such form, contain such particulars and be accompanied by such fee, if any, as may be prescribed.
(2) On receipt of an application, the licensing authority shall call for the report of the officer in charge of the nearest police station on that application, and such officer shall send his report within the prescribed time.
(2-A) The licensing authority, after such inquiry, if any, as it may, consider necessary, and after considering the report received under sub-section (2), shall, subject to the other provisions of this Chapter, by order in writing either grant the licence or refuse to grant the same:
Provided that where the officer in charge of the nearest police station does not send his report on the application within the prescribed time, the licensing authority may, if it deems fit, make such order, after the expiry of the prescribed time, without further waiting for that report.
(3) The licensing authority shall grant -
(a) a licence under section 3 where the licence is required-
(i) by a citizen of India in respect of a smooth bore gun having a barrel of not less than twenty inches in length to be used for protection or sport or in respect of a muzzle a loading gun to be used for bona fide crop protection:
Provided that where having regard to the circumstances of any case, the licensing authority is satisfied that a muzzle loading gun will not be sufficient for crop protection, the licensing authority may grant a licence in respect of any other smooth bore gun as aforesaid for such protection, or
(ii) in respect of a point 22 bore rifle or an air rifle to be used for target practice by a member of a rifle club or rifle association licensed or recognized by the Central Government;
(b) a licence under section 3 in any other case or a licence under section 4, section 5, section 6, section 10 or section 12, if the licensing authority is satisfied that the person by whom the licence is required has a good reason for obtaining the same.
14. Refusal of licences. - (1) Notwithstanding anything in section 13, the licensing authority shall refuse to grant -
(a) a licence under section 3,section 4 or section 5 where such licence is required in respect of any prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition;
(b) a licence in any other case under Chapter II, -
(i) where such licence is required by a person whom the licensing authority has reason to believe -
(1) to be prohibited by this Act or by any other law for the time being in force from acquitting, having in his possession or carrying any arms or ammunition, or
(2) to be of unsound mind, or
(3) to be for any reason unfit for a licence under this Act; or
(ii) where the licensing authority deems it necessary for the security of the public peace or for public safety to refuse to grant such licence.
(2) The licensing authority shall not refuse to grant any licence to any person merely on the ground that such person does not own or possess sufficient property.
(3) Where the licensing authority refuses to grant a licence to any person it shall record in writing the reasons for such refusal and furnish to that person on demand a brief statement of the same unless in any case the licensing authority is of the opinion that it will not be in the public interest to furnish such statement."
According to the learned Standing counsel, the grant of second license has been refused to the petitioner under the provisions of section 14(1)(ii) of the Act which provides that a license can be refused where the licensing authority deems it necessary for the security of the public peace or for public safety not to grant such licence. There is no material on record to show that if the petitioner is granted a second license, it would be detrimental to the interest and security of the public. On the contrary, while renewing the license of the petitioner for the D.B.B.L. gun, the police as well as the Tahsildar have categorically reported there is no case pending against the petitioner and that his relations with the public and the government servants are good. Even otherwise, in the earlier writ petition filed by the petitioner which was allowed by this Court on 14.7.2004 it had been observed that "if the law does not prohibit the petitioner from obtaining another arms licence it could not be refused by the respondents on the ground that the special reasons are required to be disclosed". In the teeth of such directions issued by this Court in the case of the petitioner itself, the licensing authority has, while refusing to grant the second license to the petitioner, observed that the petitioner has not produced any circumstance or evidence to certify that he requires a Revolver/Pistol. A person would be entitled to grant of a license, except when refusal of such license is warranted under section 14 of the Act. In the present case, the licensing authority has again and again only tried to make up some reason or the other for refusing to grant the license, even though the same may not exist. Under law the petitioner is not required to show any special circumstance for being granted a second license as long as he is otherwise eligible for grant of license. It is not the case of the respondents that the petitioner is a person of criminal antecedents or that there is any criminal case registered against him. On the contrary, the report of the Tahsildar is that he is a person of good behaviour, having cordial relations with the members of the public. Even government departmental officials, where he works as a contractor, have also certified that the petitioner enjoys good relations and that he has to go in interior areas in connection with his work.
In such circumstances, the refusal to grant license for a Revolver/Pistol to the petitioner is not justified and the impugned order dated 26.8.2004, being contrary to law, is thus liable to be quashed. The same is, accordingly, quashed. In the facts and circumstances of this case, in my view, the petitioner would be entitled to grant of a license for Revolver/Pistol. The licensing authority is, thus, directed to pass fresh orders in the light of the observations made and directions given here-in-above, within a period of one month from the date of filing of certified copy of this order before him.
The writ petition succeeds and is allowed. No order as to cost.
Dt/- January 19, 2006
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