IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM WP(C).No. 36208 of 2010(A)
1. M.D.BABY, MANGALATHUMANNIL HOUSE, ... Petitioner
1. STATE OF KERALA, REPRESENTED BY ... Respondent
2. LAND REVENUE COMMISSIONER
3. THE DISTRICT COLLECTOR, PATHANAMTHITTA.
4. THE SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE,
5. UNION OF INDIA, REPRESENTED BY
For Petitioner :SRI.SEBASTIAN PHILIP For Respondent :SRI.T.P.M.IBRAHIM KHAN,ASST.S.G OF INDI The Hon'ble MR. Justice ANTONY DOMINIC Dated :07/12/2010
O R D E R
ANTONY DOMINIC, J.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````` W.P.(C) No. 36208 of 2010 A
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Dated this the 7th day of December, 2010 J U D G M E N T
Petitioner is a person of Indian origin, who has subsequently acquired citizenship of the United States of America. According to the petitioner, on the strength of Visa he has obtained, since 2002 he has been residing in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala State. Petitioner was issued an arms licence, which was also renewed subsequently.
2. However, in 2009, when the petitioner made an application for renewal of his arms licence, that was rejected by Ext.P4 order passed by the third respondent, stating mainly that the Arms Act and Rules do not have any provision for issuing licence to foreign citizens. It is also stated that a citizen of a foreign country can be permitted to import arms for the purpose of sports only. On that basis, the application for renewal was declined and the petitioner was ordered to surrender his gun.
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3. Aggrieved by Ext.P4 order, petitioner filed an appeal before the second respondent. The appeal was also rejected by Ext.P6 order. In Ext.P6 order, it is stated that, under the scheme of the Arms Act, 1959, licence is usually granted for crop protection and self protection and that in the appeal, the petitioner has not explained for what he needed the weapon. Further, it is also stated that he has not mentioned that there is any threat for his life or property. It is in these circumstances, challenging the aforesaid order, this writ petition has been filed seeking to direct the respondents to renew Ext.P2 licence issued to the petitioner.
4. Contention raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner is that Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959, no distinction is made among Indian citizens and others for the grant of arms licence. Counsel also placed reliance on the judgment reported in Ashok kumar Harakchand Shab Vs. State of Gujarat [2000 (3) KLT SN Case No.45] to substantiate this plea.
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5. Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959, provides for grant of licenses. Section 13(3) of the Act, being relevant, reads as follows:-
"S.13(3). The licensing authority shall grant -
(a) a licence under section 3 where the licence is required-
(i) by a citizen of India in respect of a smooth bore gun having a barrel of not less than twenty inches in length to be used for protection or sport or in respect of a muzzle loading gun to be used for bona fide crop protection:
Provided that where having regard to the circumstances of any case, the licensing authority is satisfied that a muzzle loading gun will not be sufficient for crop protection, the licensing authority may grant a licence in respect of any other smooth bore gun as aforesaid for such protection; or
(ii) in respect of a point 22 bore rifle or an air rifle to be used for target practice by a member of a rifle club or rifle association W.P.(C) No.36208/10
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licensed or recognised by the Central Government;
(b) a licence under section 3 in any other case or a licence under section 4, section 5, section 6, section 10 or section 12, if the licensing authority is satisfied that the person by whom the licence is required has a good reason for obtaining the same."
6. In so far as the case in hand is concerned, the contention of the petitioner is that he needs the weapon for self protection. In my view, if the requirement of gun is for self protection, the claim will have to be dealt with section 13(3)(a) (i). A reading of this provision shows that, for self protection and crop protection, licence can be granted only to citizens of India. Counsel for the petitioner relied on Clause (b) and contended that the said provision did not distinguish between the citizens of the country and others. I am inclined to think that a combined reading of entire section 13(3) would show that, cases of self protection and crop protection are outside the purview of Clause (b). If that be so, the request of the W.P.(C) No.36208/10
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petitioner is liable to be rejected.
7. A reading of the judgment relied on by the counsel for the petitioner also, in my view, recognises the aforesaid view because that judgment itself lays down that what is discernible from the provisions of the Act is that there is no express or implied ban or restriction against the consideration of application for licence on the basis of citizenship except as provided in Section 13(3)(a)(i) of the Act.
8. Therefore, in my view, the authorities cannot be faulted for the view they have taken in the impugned orders. Writ petition fails and it is dismissed. Sd/-
(ANTONY DOMINIC, JUDGE)
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P.A. To Judge