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Owing Firearm Is Not Fundamental Right In India: Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court said observed an arms licence is a creation of the statute and the licensing authority is vested with the discretion whether to grant or not grant such a licence.

Delhi High Court
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Delhi High Court has said right to own a firearm is not a fundamental right in India.

According to The Indian Express report, the court made the observation while hearing an advocate’s plea against the Delhi LG’s decision rejecting his application seeking an arms licence.

“During the course of submissions, the court has asked the petitioner appearing in person as to the reasons for which he has applied for an arms licence. The only reason that is forthcoming is that the petitioner wishes to own an arms licence for the purpose of his self-defence/protection. Right to own a firearm is not a fundamental right in India,” the report mentioned.

“The petitioner, a practising advocate, had sought directions for the issuance of an arms licence by the joint commissioner of police (licensing), which is the licensing authority under the Arms Act, 1959. He had filed an application in 2015. As the same was not decided, he filed a writ petition before the high court, seeking an early decision,” it stated.

On November 9, 2020, a single judge of the high court directed that the decision on the petitioner’s licensing application be taken within four weeks. Thereafter, the licence application was rejected by the licensing authority on November 23, 2020. 

“The petitioner filed an appeal against this decision, which was also rejected by the appellate authority – the lieutenant governor – on November 30, 2022. He thereafter moved the high court against this decision,” it mentioned.

“The court also observed that an arms licence is a creation of the statute and the licensing authority is vested with the discretion whether to grant or not grant such a licence, depending upon the situation in each case,” it said.

“All lawyers/advocates who are appearing on the criminal side for the accused or the prosecution cannot claim a right to own an arms licence, inasmuch as this could result in issuance of arms licences indiscriminately. The perceived weakness of the state, which is one of the grounds, which the petitioner has urged for seeking the arms licence, if accepted, would result in recognition of a right to own a fire arm. This recognition leading to issuance of a licence and unbridled owning of fire arms could also pose a threat to the safety and security of the other citizens, which the licensing authority would have to keep in mind while allowing or rejecting the arms licence,” the high court said, mentioned the report.

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