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Lakhan Singh Vs. Commissioner, Jhansi Division and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petn. No. 6052 of 1983
Judge
Reported inAIR1984All122
ActsArms Act, 1959 - Sections 2, 17 and 17(3); Arms Rules, 1962 - Rule 2
AppellantLakhan Singh
RespondentCommissioner, Jhansi Division and ors.
Appellant AdvocateR.R.K. Trivedi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
criminal - cancellation of licence - sections 17 and 2 (f) of arms act, 1959 - under section 17 additional district judge has the jurisdiction to commence proceedings for cancellation of licence. - - in view of these provisions, the district magistrate is the licensing authority for firearms of the categories mentioned in category iii (a) or (b) for firearms mentioned in category iii (c) the district magistrate as well as sub-divisional magistrate is the licensing authority......to the rules made under it to specify who is the licensing authority.5. clause (c) of rule 2, arms rules, 1962, defines the term 'authority' or 'officer' to mean, except where otherwise specifically provided in these rules, the district magistrate or such other officer as may, from rime to time, be notified in the official gazette by the central government. therefore reading clause (c) of rule 2 with clause (f) of section 2 of the act, the licensing authority is the district magistrate or such other officer which may be specifically provided for in the rules or by a notification in the gazette by the central government. it is noticeable that district magistrate is specifically mentioned in clause (c) of rule 2 as the licensing authority. the district magistrate would hence be the.....
Judgment:

Satish Chandra, C.J.

1. It appears that on 26-12-1963 the petitioner was granted a licence for a single barrel breach-loading .12 bore gun, pursuant to some first information report involving the petitioner in an offence under Section 307, I. P. C., the Additional District Magistrate, Banda, on 30th June, 1982, issued a notice requiring the petitioner to show cause why his afore-said gun licence be not cancelled. The petitioner appeared and filed objections. One of the objections taken by him was that the Additional District Magistrate had no jurisdiction to initiate proceedings or issue a notice to show cause for cancellation of the gun licence. This objection was rejected. The petitioner applied to the Commissioner, Jhansi Division, Jhansi, for transfer of the case for cancellation of the licence to some other authority. The Commissioner did not find any merit in it and dismissed title transfer application. Aggrieved, the petitioner has come to this Court.

2. The Commissioner's order on the application for transfer does not betray and manifest error of law so as to entitle this Court to interfere with it. The allegation that the Additional District Magistrate was friendly with the complainant does not appear to have been made out by any cogent evidence. The mere fact that the complainant was a lawyer practising in the Courts there including the Court of the Additional District Magistrate was rightly found to be of no material relevance so as to merit transfer of the case. That order hence cannot be interfered with.

3. The other and more serious submission raised to the petition is that in view of the provisions of the Arms Act and the Rules framed thereunder, the Additional District Magistrate had no jurisdiction to cancel the licence. It was submitted that under the relevant provision it is the District Magistrate alone who is the Licensing Authority under the Arms Act and so he alone could initiate proceedings for cancellation of the licence.

4. Section 17, Arms Act, authorises the Licensing Authority to suspend or revoke licences granted under the Act on grounds mentioned specifically in Sub-section (3) thereof. Clause (f) of Section 2 of the Arms Act defines the term 'Licensing Authority' to mean an officer or authority empowered to grant or renew licences under Rules made under this Act, and includes the Government. It is thus clear that the 'Licensing Authority' has not been specified in the Act The Act refers to the Rules made under it to specify who is the Licensing Authority.

5. Clause (c) of Rule 2, Arms Rules, 1962, defines the term 'authority' or 'officer' to mean, except where otherwise specifically provided in these Rules, the District Magistrate or such other officer as may, from rime to time, be notified in the Official Gazette by the Central Government. Therefore reading Clause (c) of Rule 2 with Clause (f) of Section 2 of the Act, the Licensing Authority is the District Magistrate or such other officer which may be specifically provided for in the Rules or by a notification in the Gazette by the Central Government. It is noticeable that District Magistrate is specifically mentioned in Clause (c) of Rule 2 as the Licensing Authority. The District Magistrate would hence be the Licensing Authority under the various provisions of the Arms Act except where the Arms Rules, 1962, specifically provide to the contrary.

6. Clause (f) of Rule 2 defines 'District Magistrate'. It says-

(f). 'District Magistrate' includes-

(i) .....

(ii) in relation to any district or part thereof, an Additional District Magistrate or any other officer specially empowered in this behalf by the Government of the State concerned;

(iii) to (v) .....

The position is that the power to revoke or cancel a licence has been conferred by Sec-tion 17, Arms Act, on the Licensing Authority. The Licensing Authority under Section 2(f) means an officer or authority empowered to grant or renew licences under Rules made under this Act. Rule 4 of the Arms Rules provides :

'Licences under Chapter II of the Act may be granted or renewed for such purposes, by such authorities, in such forms and to be valid for such period and in such areas as arc specified in Schedule II, subject to such conditions as are specified in that Schedule and in the licence.

Provided that the licences granted or renewed by a Licensing Authority may be signed by such officer subordinate to that authority as may be specially empowered in this behalf by the State Government.'

Schedule II to the Rules refers to categories of arms and ammunition as defined in Schedule I. Schedule I specifies the various kinds of firearms in different categories. Gregory III (a) is revolvers and pistols. Cate-gory III (b) refers to breech-loading rifles other than .22 bore rifles. Category III (c) refers to .22 bore rifles. For these kinds of firearms the Licensing Authority specified in column 5, Sch. II, is the District Magistrate. For firearms of Category HI (c) Sub-Divisional Magistrate has also been described in addition to the Dist. Magistrate. In view of these provisions, the District Magistrate is the Licensing Authority for firearms of the categories mentioned in Category III (a) or

(b) For firearms mentioned in Category III

(c) the District Magistrate as well as Sub-Divisional Magistrate is the Licensing Authority. The term 'District Magistrate' occurring in Schedule II has not been defined there. It is, however, defined in Clause (f) of Rule 2. There it includes, inter alia, an Additional District Magistrate. The Additional District Magistrate is hence the Licensing Authority who is empowered to grant or renew licences under the Rules made under the Arms Act. In this view the Additional District Magistrate will be the Licensing Authority as defined in Clause (f) of Section 2 of the Arms Act itself. The Additional District Magistrate was thus competent to initiate proceedings for cancellation of the licence under Section 17 Arms Act.

7. Learned counsel for the petitioner invited our attention to the decision of this Court in Jawahar v. State, AIR 1968 All 87. In that case it was held that the definition of the term 'District Magistrate' given in Rule 2 (f) was applicable to expressions used in the Rules only. That definition cannot be straightway applied to expressions used in the Act. That was a case under Section 39, Arms Act. In that case the sanction given by the Additional District Magistrate for prosecution was challenged. Section 39 specifically authorises only the District Magistrate to sanction the prosecution. Expression 'District Magistrate' has not been defined in the Act, so as to include Additional District Magistrate. The learned single Judge in that decision held that Section 10(2), Cr. P. C., was applicable. But in that case there was no evidence to show that the Additional District Magistrate had been duly empowered by the State Government as required by Section 10 (2), Cr. P. C. That case, therefore, turned on the special condition prevailing that there was no delegation or authorisation by the State Government. This case has been considered in a subsequent decision of this Court in Channua v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1969 All LJ 347, and it was held that that was a case of special fact because in that case there was no notification authorising the Additional District Magistrate to exercise the powers of a District Magistrate, whereas in the case of Channua there was a notification appointing a person as Additional District Magistrate and authorising him to exercise all the powers of a District Magistrate under Section 10, Cr. P. C., as also under any other law for the time being in force. It was held that the phrase 'any other law for the time being in force' included offences under the Arms Act These decisions are however not in point in the present case. Here the question is of initiating proceedings for cancellation of a licence. The present is not a case where sanction to prose-cute a person under Section 39, Arms Act, is in-volved. Cancellation of a licence is covered by Section 17, Arms Act, wherein, as discussed above, the Additional District Magistrate has the requisite jurisdiction.

8. In this view, the petition fails and is accordingly dismissed. We, however, make no order as to costs.


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