N.C.T. Of Delhi &
ANR Vs. Umesh Kumar  INSC 1179 (19 July 2008)
JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.699 OF 2003 NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF DELHI
& ANR. ...APPELLANT(S) Versus ORDER Dr.ARIJIT PASAYAT.
Heard learned counsel
for the parties.
The challenge in this
Appeal is to the order passed by the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court
allowing the Criminal Writ Petition No.
207/2001 by Order
The background facts
in nutshell are as under:- The respondent had been granted license for a .315
Bore Rifle. The Lt. Governor, Delhi upheld the order passed by the Deputy
Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi, in Appeal in terms of Section 18 of
the Arms Act, 1959 (In short the Act). The Deputy Commissioner had directed
cancellation of license on the ground that the respondent who was working as a
Constable was involved in criminal offence and therefore, it was not in the
interest of justice to -2- continue currency of the license granted to him.
Therefore, it was cancelled.
The appeal before the
Lt. Governor, as noted above, did not bring any relief to the appellant. The
High Court was moved thereafter.
The High Court noted
factual background as follows:
license was cancelled on the ground that that he was found involved in case FIR
No. 254/1991 for offences punishable under Sections 302, 307 read with Section
34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short IPC) and Sections 25, 27 and 54 of
the Arms Act. On the recommendation of the Crime Branch, notice was issued by
the Dy. Commissioner of Police (Licensing) to show cause as to why the arms
license should not be cancelled in the interest of public safety and peace as
he has rendered himself to be unsuitable to hold license. The license was
cancelled in exercise of power conferred under Section 17(3) of the Act. The
Lt. Governor of Delhi as noted above dismissed the appeal. The High Court noted
that the respondent was deployed in Delhi Police and during his involvement in
-3- the aforesaid crime was suspended and remained suspended till he was
acquitted by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi. After the acquittal,
suspension was revoked and he was reinstated in service on 19.1.2000. Before
the High Court the stand of the present respondent was that the grounds on
which the licence was cancelled did not exist any further and there was no
reason as to why the appeal should have been dismissed. It was pointed out by
the High Court that on acquittal the respondent was found to be fit enough to
continue in his post. When he was found to be so fit, there was no reason as to
why he should not have a license for a gun. A reference was also made to Clause
7 of Section 17 of the Act which provides that if the conviction is set aside
on appeal or otherwise, the suspension or revocation of the license by the
court convicting the holder of the license shall become void. According to the
High Court, on the same analogy, when the respondent's involvement was not
found acceptable the licence which was cancelled, ought to have been restored.
Learned counsel for the State submitted before the High Court that the State
had already filed -4- an appeal questioning the acquittal of the respondent.
The High Court was of the view that filing of an appeal cannot have any effect
on the judgment of the acquittal. In case acquittal is set aside it was open to
the authorities to take necessary action.
Learned counsel for
the appellant submitted that the fact that appeal was pending consideration,
should have been given due weight age. Even otherwise, a person serving in the
Police Force and charged with serious offences should not be allowed to have a
license. According to him grant of license is discretionary and there is no
right in that sense to have a license.
Learned counsel for
the respondent, on the other hand, supported the judgment of the High Court.
We find that while
issuing notice this Court had directed stay of the impugned order by Order
2.12.2002. Subsequently, leave was granted by Order dated 2.5.2003 and the
interim order was made absolute. In other words, the High Court's Order is not
operative as of now.
We are of the
considered view that interest of justice would be best served if the orders
passed by this Court staying operation of the High Court's order are -5-
continued till the disposal of the Appeal by the High Court. We make it clear
by giving this direction, we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of
the case. However, we request the High Court to dispose of the Appeal, if
pending, as early as practicable preferably by the end of year 2008.
The Appeal is
accordingly disposed of.
( Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT )
( G.S. SINGHVI )
Delhi, June 19,2008.