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Riazat HussaIn Vs. Commissioner, Allahabad Division and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1975CriLJ654
AppellantRiazat Hussain
RespondentCommissioner, Allahabad Division and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 1. the petitioner held a licence which was cancelled by the district magistrate, allahabad, by his order dated 27th june, 1970, the petitioner's appeal to the commissioner also failed. the appellate authority was competent to grant relief to him, if he had complained of inadequate opportunity being given to him. he accordingly recommended that it would be in the interest of maintenance of public peace and tranquillity to cancel the petitioner's licence. the report of the pargana magistrate clearly mentioned this fact and the district magistrate has also made a reference to it in the impugned order. if satisfied about the petitioner's grievance the commissioner could have given him an opportunity to lead evidence in rebuttal or could have remanded the case to the district..........that the petitioner's licence was suspended as far back as on 23-10-1969 and at that time the two police reports relied upon by the petitioner were not in existence. these reports came to be made later. the district magistrate had in the meantime directed the pargana magistrate, chail, to submit a report. the magistrate conducted an enquiry and submitted his report dated 20th june, 1970, a copv whereof is annexure 'a' to the counter-affidavit. this report reveals that the petitioner was a communal minded person. he was suspected to have taken part in the abduction of a hindu girl by some mohammadan boys. this led to communal tension. even though the petitioner was not challenged in that case for want of evidence, the local report was that he had a direct hand in that incident. it was.....
Judgment:
ORDER

R.L. Gulati, J.

1. The petitioner held a licence which was cancelled by the District Magistrate, Allahabad, by his order dated 27th June, 1970, The petitioner's appeal to the Commissioner also failed. He has now approached this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. It appears that the petitioner was involved in a case under Section 107/117, Cr.P.C. The District Magistrate, Allahabad, suspended the petitioner's licence for that reason and asked him to show cause why his licence should not be cancelled. The petitioner submitted a written reply which was not accepted by the District Magistrate and eventually he cancelled the petitioner's licence.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner has challenged the order of the District Magistrate as also of the Commissioner on various grounds. The principal ground as disclosed in the rejoinder-affidavit is that, according to the standing orders issued by Sri M. S. Dass, the then Commissioner, Allahabad Division, Allahabad, files relating to cases under the Arms Act were not allowed to be inspected by the persons concerned. According to the learned counsel, for that reason the petitioner was not able to inspect the record either before the District Magistrate or before the Commissioner. In the counter-affidavit of Misri Lal, it has been stated that the petitioner did not make any written application for inspection and no such application is on the record. The petitioner himself has not stated categorically that he made any application for inspection of the record. He has made a vague assertion that his request for inspection was refused by the office of the District Magistrate as also by the office of the Commissioner. In these circumstances much weight cannot be attached to this ground.

4. There are two grounds upon which the impugned action has been taken against the petitioner (1) that he was involved in a case under Section 107/117, Cr.P.C. involving apprehension of breach of peace and (2) that he was a communal minded person and had been involved in an incident of communal nature. These two charges were known to the petitioner as they are contained in the order of the District Magistrate. Even if he was not aware of these two charges at the time when the show cause notice was issued to him by the District Magistrate, he had ample opportunity to make a grievance of this fact before the Commissioner in his appeal. The appellate authority was competent to grant relief to him, if he had complained of inadequate opportunity being given to him. The order of the Commissioner shows that no such grievance was made before him, nor has the petitioner filed a copy of the grounds of appeal to show that he had raised any such ground in his memo of appeal. In any case, the petitioner being fully aware of these charges against him. he cannot be said to have been handicapped because of the inadequate show cause notice.

5. Yet another contention raised by the learned counsel was that the petitioner's licence had been cancelled without there being any material. According to him, the primary reason for the cancellation of the petitioner's licence was the latter's involvement in the case under Section 107/117, Cr.P.C. This case had been compromised and no further proceedings were taken by the police. He has extracted in the writ petition two reports made by the police to the effect that if the petitioner's licences were restored the police would have no objection. Thus the argument of the learned counsel is that the criminal case had been compromised and the police had submitted a favourable report. In such circumstances there was no material on the record justifying the cancellation of the petitioner's licence. I am afraid this is not the whole story. What actually appear's to have happened is that the petitioner's licence was suspended as far back as on 23-10-1969 and at that time the two police reports relied upon by the petitioner were not in existence. These reports came to be made later. The District Magistrate had in the meantime directed the Pargana Magistrate, Chail, to submit a report. The Magistrate conducted an enquiry and submitted his report dated 20th June, 1970, a copv whereof is Annexure 'A' to the counter-affidavit. This report reveals that the petitioner was a communal minded person. He was suspected to have taken part in the abduction of a Hindu girl by some Mohammadan boys. This led to communal tension. Even though the petitioner was not challenged in that case for want of evidence, the local report was that he had a direct hand in that incident. It was further stated in the report that because of the communal tension prevailing in the village there was a possibility of his using firearm in a communal flareup. He accordingly recommended that it would be in the interest of maintenance of public peace and tranquillity to cancel the petitioner's licence. It is on the basis of this report that the District Magistrate cancelled the gun licence of the petitioner. In the circumstances, it cannot be said that the action taken by the District Magistrate was not based upon any material.

6. The learned counsel then stated that the charge against the petitioner that he was communal minded had not been disclosed to him at any stage and the Commissioner for the first time relied upon this circumstance. This is not true. The report of the Pargana Magistrate clearly mentioned this fact and the District Magistrate has also made a reference to it in the impugned order. The petitioner has not denied the incident. In any case he had an effective opportunity of meeting this charge, if not before the District Magistrate before the Commissioner whose powers are co-extensive with the powers of the District Magistrate. If satisfied about the petitioner's grievance the Commissioner could have given him an opportunity to lead evidence in rebuttal or could have remanded the case to the District Magistrate. The petitioner does not appear to have made any such grievance before the Commissioner. This contention, therefore, also fails.

7. Under Section 17(3)(b) power has been given to the licensing authority to suspend or revoke a licence for firearm, if he deems necessary so to do for the security of public peace. Obviously it is for the licensing authority to be satisfied about the existence of such a condition. Satisfaction, no doubt, has to be objective and must be based upon relevant material. In the instant case there was material before the District Magistrate to form such an opinion. Whether the material is sufficient or not is not a question which can affect the jurisdiction of the licensing authority. It is well settled that in cases like the present one, where an officer is required to act upon his satisfaction, the existence of some relevant material is only necessary. The sufficiency of material is not a justiciable issue before this Court.

8. The decision of this Court In State of U.P. v. Jaswant Singh : AIR1968All383 does not help the petitioner. All that was held in that case was that every citizen of India was entitled to obtain a licence for fire-arm, if the conditions specified in Section 13 of the Arms Act were satisfied and once a licence was granted its renewal was automatic, unless circumstances existed which could justify the revocation or suspension of the licence. In the instant case circumstances did exist to justify the cancellation of the licence of the petitioner.

9. For all these reasons, the petitions fail and are dismissed. But I make no order as to costs.


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