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Mere custody of ammunition without awareness will not constitute offense U/S. 25 of the Arms Act, 1959: High Court of Delhi

It is a well-settled law that where a person is not conscious of the ammunition in his possession, an offense under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 would not be made out. This was held in ARUN v.   THE STATE GNCT OF DELHI. [Bail Appln. 1528/2021] in the High Court of Delhi by a single bench consisting of JUSTICE SURESH KUMAR KAIT.

Facts are that an FIR was registered against the petitioner under Section 25 Arms Act, 1959.The writ petition has been filed under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India read with section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking quashing of the FIR registered at Police Station of I.G.I. Airport, and all proceedings emanating from the same.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted he was not in conscious possession of the live cartridge that was recovered from him whilst he was traveling from Delhi to Sri Lanka and had thereafter a connecting flight to Australia. He further submitted that the live cartridge of 0.32 mm calibre detected in Petitioner’s tagged baggage, was part of the baggage of his father used in the normal course of traveling and his father has a valid arms license.

The learned ASC for State submitted that the Arms Licence issued in the name of petitioner’s father had been verified and the same was found to be genuine.

The court made reference to the judgment of Delhi High court in Chan Hong Saik Vs. State and Anr. ,, wherein it was observed that “the court had quashed the FIR by holding that a single cartridge without a firearm is a minor ammunition which is protected under clause (d) of Section 45 of the Arms Act.”. But the same was also referred to a larger bench of the court who had opined that “opined that single cartridge is ammunition and comes under the Arms Act, 1959. But  since the possession of the ammunition was unconscious and there was no arm with the accused and there was no threat to anyone, therefore this Court has rightly quashed the FIR”

The court also made reference to the provision of Arms act and further reference to the judgment of Delhi High in Paramdeep Singh Sran v. The State (NCT of Delhi) W.P, wherein it was observed that “ Section 25 Arms Act was converted into Section 30 Arms Act as the Petitioner was holding a valid Arms License”.

Considering the facts of the case and the legal precedents, the court held that it was not the case of the prosecution that there was a firearm recovered from the petitioner or there was any threat to anyone. Thus holding that as the possession of the ammunition was unconscious and there was no threat, the Fir registered under the provision of Arms act should be quashed.

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