Rejection or renewal of arms licence must be based only on the grounds given under Section 14 of the Arms Act, 1959: Kerala HC

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Anu Sivaraman, J. allowed a civil writ petition seeking quashing of an order whereby petitioner’s application for renewal of arms licence was rejected.

Learned counsel for the petitioner Mr K.R. Sunil submitted that the reason stated for rejection was that the petitioner could not convince the authority of need for arms licence. The same was untenable under Section 14 of the Arms Act, 1959.

Counsel for the respondent Mr E.S. Ashraf submitted that enquiry conducted by the respondent showed that petitioner was in his 70’s and did not require a gun as he was neither facing any threat nor using the arm for agricultural purpose. As per, circular dated 31-02-2010 issued by the Central Ministry of Human Affairs request for arms licences shall be considered only if persons face or perceive grave and imminent threat to their lives. Therefore, the rejection order was valid.

The Court opined that that reasons stated for non-consideration of petitioner’s application for renewal were not referable to Section 14 of the Act. It relied on various judgments of this Court, few being, Jose Kuttiyany v. Land Revenue Commission, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 15730 and C. Chandran Nair v. Additional District Magistrate, 2014 SCC OnLine Ker 23940 to observe that the only reasons for rejection of an application for renewal of licence would be that the issuance or the renewal thereof is prohibited by the Arms Act, if the applicant of unsound mind and if he is, for any reason, unfit for a licence under the Arms Act. 

In view of the above, the petition was allowed, directing the respondent to reconsider petitioner’s application for renewal of arms licence with reference to Section 14 of the Arms Act and binding judgments of this Court, and pass an order thereon within a period of one month.[T.K. Haridasan v. District Collector, Ernakulam,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5359, decided on 12-12-2018]

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