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'Guns Licensed For Self Protection Cannot Be Used For Celebratory Firing': SC Expresses Concern About Rising Incidents [Read Judgment]

18 March 2020 4:04 PM GMT
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While sentencing a man accused of killing two persons in a celebratory firing to ten years rigorous imprisonment, the Supreme Court expressed its concerns about the rising incidents of celebratory firing. The bench headed by CJI SA Bobde observed thus:

"Incidents of celebratory firing are regretfully rising, for they are seen as a status symbol. A gun licensed for self protection or safety and security of crops and cattle cannot be fired in celebratory events, it being a potential cause of fatal accidents. Such like misuse of fire arms convert a happy event to a pall of gloom." 

Bhagwan Singh was convicted for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Trial Court and the High Court.. In his appeal before the Apex Court, it was contended it was a case of celebratory firing which unfortunately caused unintentional death of two persons and injuries to three others. It was further contended that it is not 'culpable homicide' because he had, while firing towards roof, no knowledge that the act was likely to cause death.

Partly allowing his appeal, the bench also comprising of Justices Surya Kant and BR Gavai disagreed with the Trial Court and the High court finding that the firing from the gun which was pointed towards the roof, was as bad as firing into a crowd of persons so he ought to have known that his act of gun ­shot firing was so imminently dangerous that it would, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as was likely to cause death. It observed:

"It was an unfortunate case of misfiring. The appellant of course cannot absolve himself of the conclusion that he carried a loaded gun at a crowded place where his own guests had gathered to attend the marriage ceremony. He did not take any reasonable safety measure like to fire the shot in the air or towards the sky, rather he invited full risk and aimed the gun towards the roof and fired the shot. He was expected to know that pellets could cause multiple gunshot injuries to the nearby persons even if a single shot was fired. The appellant is, thus, guilty of an act, the likely consequences of which including causing fatal injuries to the persons being in a close circuit, are attributable to him. The offence committed by the appellant, thus, would amount to 'culpable homicide' within the meaning of Section 299, though punishable under Section 304 Part 2 of the IPC."

The bench, therefore, convicted him under Section 304 Part 2 and sentenced him to ten years rigorous imprisonment. 

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