Del HC | Charge framed under S.30 of Arms Act quashed in absence of “conscious” possession of live cartridge

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. allowed a petition filed against the order of farming of charge, whereby the petitioner was charged for having committed an offence punishable under Section 30 of the Arms Act for violating conditions of the license.

The petitioner was a resident of Noida, UP. He held a valid arms license for the State of U.P. He was found in possession of a live cartridge while undergoing x-ray screening at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. Aishwarya Dobhal and Hilal Haider, Advocates for the petitioner contended that he was not in “conscious” possession of the said cartridge and therefore no charge could be framed against him.

Agreeing with the counsel for the petitioner, the High Court observed: “petitioner did not make any attempt to conceal the live cartridge in the bag and had handed over the bag for x-ray screening. It is common knowledge that in case any arms or ammunition are present in a bag which is screened by X-Ray, the arm and ammunition would be easily detected unless an attempt is made to conceal the same”. The Court noted that it was not the case of the prosecution that any attempt was made by the petitioner to conceal the same so as to avoid detection. It was held: From the perusal of the record it can be safely inferred that the presence of live cartridge in the handbag was not within the knowledge of the petitioner and petitioner did not have requisite mens rea for committing the said offence.” Reliance was placed upon the Supreme Court decision in Gunwantlal v. State of M.P., (1972) 2 SCC 194.

In such view of the matter, the petition was allowed and the charge as farmed was held not sustainable. [Anjum Asgar Zaidi v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8649, decided on 20-05-2019]

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