Capital Territory of Delhi & ANR. Vs. Umesh Kumar (Criminal Appeal No. 699 of
2003) June 19, 2008
Arijit Pasayat and G.S. Singhvi, JJ.] The Order of the Court was delivered by
Dr.ARIJIT PASAYAT. Heard learned counsel for the parties.
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
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 continue currency of the license granted to
him. Therefore, it was cancelled. The appeal before the Lt.
as noted above, did not bring any relief to the appellant. The High Court was
High Court noted factual background as follows:
respondent's 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 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 After the acquittal, suspension was revoked and he was reinstated in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
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 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.
counsel for the appellant submitted that the fact that appeal was pending
consideration, should have been given due weightage. 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.
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.
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
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.
Appeal is accordingly disposed of.