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Har Prasad Singh v. State Of U.P. Thru' Secy. Home & Ors. - WRIT - C No. 48998 of 2004 [2006] RD-AH 12881 (3 August 2006)


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                                                                               Court No.38

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.  48998 of 2004

Har Prasad Singh        Vs.            State of U.P. & others

Hon'ble Vineet Saran, J

The petitioner was granted a fire arm licence in the year 1971. On 8.5.2002 the District Magistrate, Banda issued a notice to the petitioner to show cause as to why his licence should not be suspended/cancelled. The petitioner submitted his reply on 29.5.2002. Thereafter by order dated 18.10.2002 the licence of the petitioner was placed under suspension on the ground that the petitioner is an old person of about 60 years of age and that in the opinion of the District Magistrate, since he would not be able to use the weapon, it was advised in the order that the petitioner may have his licence transferred in the name of any of his relatives, and till then his licence be placed under suspension. The appeal filed by the petitioner has been dismissed by the Commissioner, Chitrakoot Dham Mandal, Banda vide order dated 2.9.2004 on the same grounds. Aggrieved by the aforesaid orders dated 18.10.2002 and 2.9.2004, the petitioner has filed this writ petition.

I have heard Sri Brajesh Singh, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner as well as learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents. Despite time having been granted on several occasions and nearly two years having passed, no counter affidavit has yet been filed. In such circumstances, this writ petition is being taken up for final disposal at this stage.

At the outset, it has been submitted that the licensing authority has no power to place the arms licence under suspension. In support of this reliance has been placed on the decision of this Court in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 58216 of 2005 (Ajay Kumar Gupta Vs. State of U.P. and others) wherein, after considering the Full Bench decision of this Court in the cases of Balaram Singh Vs. State of U.P. and  others 1988 A.W.C. 1481, Kailash Nath Vs. State of U.P. 1985 A.W.C. 493  as well as the Division Bench decision of this Court in the case of Sadri Ram Vs. District Magistrate, Azamgarh and others 1998 All. C.J. 1449, it has been held that the arms licence cannot be placed under suspension.  

Even otherwise, on merits also, the old age of the petitioner is the sole ground for suspension of his arms licence. This Court  in the cases of Gaya Ram Vs. District Magistrate, Etawah 1987 A.W.C. 1065 and Ram Bahadur Singh Vs. District Magistrate, Deoria 1991 J.I.C. 294 has categorically held that merely because a licensee is old, it would not be a sufficient ground for revoking the licence.

In the show cause notice, some vague allegations were leveled against the petitioner to the effect that he is a person habitual of having alcohol and that he leaves his weapon unattended. After receipt of the reply to the show cause notice, the respondent-authorities did not find such charges to be correct and passed the order of suspension of the licence of the petitioner merely on the ground of his old age, without even caring to justify as to how, at the age of only 60 years, he would be unable to use his licenced weapon.  The petitioner had been in the service of armed force for more than twenty years. Admittedly, he does not have any criminal antecedents. It is not the case of the respondents that there has ever been any incident of misuse of the weapon by the petitioner.

The authorities who have the power to grant or revoke the licence  are duty bound to pass orders in accordance with law and not in a whimsical manner. The District Magistrate, as the Licensing Authority, is not sitting there in advisory jurisdiction to advise the licensee to get his licence transferred in the name of his relatives as in his wild opinion, based on no reason, the petitioner may not be able to use his weapon because of old age.

In view of the fact that there is no charge of misuse of his weapon or that the petitioner is a person of criminal antecedents, the order suspending the licence of the petitioner on whimsical grounds appears to be nothing but a clear case of highhandedness of the respondent-authorities.

For the foregoing reasons, the orders dated 18.10.2002 passed by the District Magistrate, Banda, respondent no. 3 and the appellate order dated 2.9.2004 passed by the Commissioner, Chitrakoot Dham Mandal, Banda, respondent no. 2 are both liable to be set aside and are hereby quashed.

This writ petition stands allowed.

The weapon and the licence of the petitioner shall be returned to the petitioner forthwith and in case if the licence has expired, his renewal application shall be considered and decided in accordance with law, within 15 days.

No costs.





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