The Bombay High Court has observed that a licensee cannot claim an arms licence as a matter of right under the Arms Act, 1959 while dismissing a plea challenging the order passed by the Minister for State (Home) Maharashtra Government.

A Division Bench of Justice A.S. Gadkari and Justice Prakash D. Naik held, “It is the settled position of law that, licencee can not claim licence as a matter of right however it is legal right of the licensor to grant it, subject to fulfillment of necessary legal conditions and subjective satisfaction arrived at by the licensing Authority after taking into consideration various attending circumstances while issuing it.”

The Bench said that it is not necessary to use a licenced weapon in every crime registered subsequently against the petitioner, however, its use to threaten informant/prosecution witnesses cannot be ruled out.

Advocate Amit Ghag appeared for the petitioner while APP S.D. Shinde appeared for the State.

In this case, the Appellate Authority had dismissed an appeal preferred by the petitioner and confirmed the order of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) cancelling his arms license issued by the said authority. The petitioner was issued an arms licence by the DCP and in pursuance thereto, he purchased one .32 Bore Pistol and one .12 Bore DBBL Gun.

During the period from the year 1997 to 2009, eight criminal cases came to be registered against the petitioner as a result of which the competent authority issued a notice under Section 17 of the Arms Act. The competent authority after hearing the petitioner and considering his reply, cancelled his arms licence with immediate effect and directed him to deposit it in the office.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of both parties asserted, “Sub-sections (b) and (d) of sub-section (3) of Section 17 of the Arms Act are in conjuncture and complementary to each other. It is the settled position of law that, a statute or a provision therein has to be interpreted in a manner, which will give ultimate effect to the intention of legislature and not otherwise, to frustrate it.”

The Court did not find any substance in the contention of the counsel for the petitioner.

“Merely because the Competent Authority in its notice dated 6th October, 2009 issued under Section 17 has stated that, it was issued under Section 17(3)(d) and while passing Order thereto has stated that, the said Order was under Section 17(3)(b) of the Arms Act, it does not either vitiate the notice nor the final Order dated 1st January, 2010”, noted the Court.

The Court while finding no merits in the petition said that there is no perversity or illegality in both the orders and there is no requirement of any interference by the Court in its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the plea.

Cause Title- Ravindra Shivram Salvi v. The State of Maharashtra

Click here to read/download the Judgment