D.K. Mahajan, J.
1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution against the order of the District Magistrate Sangrur, cancelling the petitioner's gun license. The petitioner was involved in a criminal case under Section 363/366/368/376, Indian Penal Code and was declared an absconder. Later on he himself surrendered to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Faridkot, and was tried. The learned Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, acquitted the Petitioner. He disbelieved the entire prosecution evidence and described it as a tissue of lies and, in spite of this fact, he, while acquitting the; accused, stated that he was giving them the benefit of the doubt-hardly a case where the words the benefit of the doubt' are justified. There is no allegation against the petitioner that he used the gun to frighten anybody or to threaten anybody or was convicted In any criminal offence against person or property. In these circumstances it appears to me that the order of confiscation is not justified by the provisions of Section 17(5) of the Arms Act, 1959.
2. The learned Advocate General contends that the order of confiscation is justified under Section 17(3) (a) and (b). So far. as Clause (a) of this Section is concerned, reliance is placed on the phrase is for any reason unfit for a license under this Act. In my view the words 'for any reason' must be read in the light of the reasons preceding these words or reasons analogous thereto. The present case is not covered by Clause (a) because there is practically no reason which will justify the cancellation of the license In the present case. So far as Clause (b) is concerned, cancellation is justified in case the authority deems it necessary for the security of the public peace or for public safety. In the present case, neither the security of public peace nor public safety was threatened by the petitioner. Therefore, no case was made out for the cancellation of the license under Clause (b) also.
3. The only other argument pressed is that as the petitioner absconded and proceedings had to be taken under Sections 87 and 88 of the Code of Criminal Procedure therefore, it is a fit case where the District Magistrate was justified in cancelling the license. I am also unable to agree with this contention because some times an innocent person who is faced with an unwarranted prosecution may abscond. Mere absconding is not covered by either Clause (a) or Clause (b) of Section 17(3) of the Act. moreover, the petitioner voluntarily surrendered to the SubDivisional Magistrate Faridkot and stated that he had never absened.
4. For the reasons given above, this petition is allowed, the order of the District Magistrate cancelling the petitioner's license is quashed. There will be no order as to costs.