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Takdeer Singh v. Commissioner Jhansi Division Jhansi & Others - WRIT - C No. 41755 of 2003  RD-AH 6085 (21 November 2005)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 41755 of 2003
Takdeer Singh Vs. Commissioner, Jhansi Division,
Jhansi & others
Hon'ble Vineet Saran, J
The petitioner was granted an arms licence in the year 1997, on the basis of which he purchased a rifle. On 23.8.1999, the petitioner was given a notice by the licensing authority to show cause why his licence should not be cancelled. The petitioner submitted his reply. Thereafter, on 29.6.2000 the District Magistrate (the licensing authority), respondent no. 2 passed the order of cancellation of his arms licence. The appeal filed by the petitioner was also dismissed on 19.6.2003 by the Commissioner, Jhansi Division, Jhansi, respondent no. 1. Aggrieved by the aforesaid orders, the petitioner has filed this writ petition.
I have heard learned counsel for the petitioner as well as learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents. Despite time having been granted on several occasions, no counter affidavit has been filed, although more than two years have passed. Accordingly, this writ petition is being heard and finally disposed of at the admission stage itself.
The arms licence of the petitioner has been cancelled primarily on two grounds. Firstly, that the petitioner did not disclose the fact that there was a criminal case pending against him; and secondly, that he did not inform that he was a permanent resident of a different village and only gave his address of the village where he was currently residing.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that Rule 51 of the Arms Rules, 1962 provides for making an application for grant of arms licence. Such application is to be filed in the format given in form "A" of Schedule III of the Rules. In the said form, the applicant is only required to state whether he has been convicted in any criminal case or not. There is no requirement for the applicant to give information of any criminal case which may be pending against him. Considering the aforesaid provision of law, it cannot be said that the petitioner has concealed any material information from the respondents at the time of making application for grant of arms licence, which the petitioner was required to furnish under law.
As regards the second ground, learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the petitioner's father was residing in the other village, which the respondents claim to be the permanent address of the petitioner. It has been specifically submitted that the petitioner gave his correct address of the village where he actually resides and his name is shown in the voter list of that village as well as a domicile certificate has been issued by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Konch, district Jalaun, copies of which have collectively been filed as Annexure-2 to the writ petition.
It is not the case of the respondents that the petitioner has in any way misused the arms licence. The respondents have not recorded any finding to the effect that the rifle possessed by the petitioner (on the strength of such arms licence) was ever involved in any crime. In support of his contention that mere involvement in a criminal case or pendency of a criminal case could not be sufficient ground for cancellation of the arms licence, the learned counsel for the petitioner has relied upon a decision of this Court rendered in the case of Hausla Prasad Tiwari Vs. State of U.P. 2005 (51) Allahabad Criminal Cases 396. In the said case also the fact of not furnishing the correct address of the applicant therein was also involved. In my view, the correct address of the applicant is required to be furnished to establish his identity and to enable the authorities to make enquiries with regard to the antecedents of the applicant. Once the petitioner has given his correct address, where he actually resides, it would be sufficient, especially when it is the specific case of the petitioner that the permanent address of his, as is being claimed by the respondents, is nothing but the place of residence of his father.
In support of his contention that it is the licensing authority which is the best Judge to assess the situation on the basis of the materials before him as to whether a person is to possess an arms licence or not, learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents has placed reliance on a decision of this Court in the case of Jagat Pal Singh Vs. State of U.P. 1997 (34) Allahabad Criminal Cases 499. There is no dispute regarding the aforesaid preposition of law, but undoubtedly this Court has the power to assess and determine as to whether the grounds and reasons for which the order of revocation has been passed by the licensing authority are justified or not.
It is not the case of the respondents that the address furnished by the petitioner was not the one where the petitioner was residing. An enquiry is required to be conducted by the respondents before granting a licence. When the petitioner had given his address where the petitioner did normally reside, it was for the respondents to make enquires and find out as to whether he had any other residence or not, and also as to whether he was convicted in any criminal case or whether there was any criminal case pending against him. Even otherwise, since I have already held above that mere pendency of a criminal case would not be sufficient for revocation or cancellation of the arms licence, in my view, the grounds on which the arms licence of the petitioner has been cancelled are not sustainable in law. A citizen is entitled to possess an arms unless he is otherwise unfit or disqualified from holding an arms licence.
In the present case, the petitioner was granted arms licence which has been revoked merely on the aforesaid grounds which are untenable in law. The petitioner has not been found guilty of misusing his arms licence which he possessed for nearly three years after the same was granted and before its cancellation.
Accordingly, the impugned orders dated 19.6.2003 and 29.6.2000 passed by respondents no. 1 and 2 respectively are liable to be set and are hereby quashed. This writ petition is allowed. No order as to costs.
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