Cases against kin cannot be ground for revoking arms licence: Bombay High Court

Cases against kin cannot be ground for revoking arms licence: Bombay High Court
© Provided by Hindustan Times A single judge bench of the Bombay High Court said under section 17(3) of the Arms Act, 1979, the licensing authority can suspend or revoke an arms licence only when it becomes necessary for security of the public or for public safety. (HT PHOTO.)

Observing that an arms licence cannot be revoked only on the ground of offences registered against the licence holder’s family members, the Bombay high court turned down the Daman district magistrate’s order, revoking the arms licence of Jignesh Patile, son of former Member of Parliament Dayabhai Patel.

The district magistrate had on October 8, 2018 revoked the arms licence granted to Jignesh Patel and directed him to deposit his licensed weapon at Nani Daman police station. He moved high court last year, after the Administrator, Daman and Diu confirmed the order and dismissed his appeal.

Advocate HS Venegavkar, who represented the Union Territory, opposed the petition stating that the orders could not be faulted since in the back-drop of the past criminal record of the petitioner and his family, it had become necessary in public interest to cancel the licence.

Justice SK Shinde, however, refused to accept the contention. The single judge bench said under section 17(3) of the Arms Act, 1979, the licensing authority can suspend or revoke an arms licence only when it becomes necessary for security of the public or for public safety.

However, the court said, the licensing authority – the district magistrate – cancelled Jignesh’s licence only on the ground that several offences had been registered against his father and brother.

“In fact, there is no material on record to establish necessary connection between the petitioner and his brother and father qua the offences registered against them,” said Justice Shinde, adding that the registration of offences against family members of the licensee that by itself was not sufficient to revoke the licence of the petitioner.

Regarding the criminal cases registered against Jignesh Patel, the court noted that the last criminal case was registered against him way back in 2010 and his arms licence had been renewed from time to time thereafter.

“Neither the District Magistrate nor the Appellate Authority has taken into consideration provisions of Section 17 of the Arms Act, 1959 at all,” the court concluded and turned down the orders revoking Jignesh Patel’s arms licence.

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