With a view to curb tendency of using firearms in marriages and social gatherings leading to unfortunate incidents, the Uttarakhand High Court has ordered that no person shall carry any firearm to a fair, religious procession/ marriage procession or other public assemblage or within the campus or precincts of any educational institution and that arms licence is not to be issued to person convicted of offence involving moral turpitude.
A bench of Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma and Justice Rajiv Sharma also directed the licensing authorities “to ensure that no licence is issued to any person, who has not completed the age of 21 years”.
Besides, the authority has been told to ensure that licence to hold firearm is not “issued to a person who has been sentenced on conviction of any offence involving violence or moral turpitude to imprisonment for [any term] at any time during a period of five years”.
The bench passed a string of directions, while hearing the appeal filed by one Bhagwan Singh against the life term awarded by the trial court for causing of two persons and injuring three others when he fired his gun on the arrival of his son’s marriage procession on April 21, 2007, in village Dafaut.
While upholding his conviction and sentence, the Uttarakhand High Court said, “It would be apt to take judicial notice of the frequent deaths and injuries caused by the persons using fire arms in marriage/ religious processions/ social gatherings/ public/ political rallies. This tendency is required to be curbed.”
Taking note of various provisions of the Arms Act and the Arms Rules, the bench said, “It is evident that firearms can be permitted to be carried for the purpose of sport/ self-protection/ protection of crops and cattle/ display. The firearms are not permitted to be carried in a fair, religious procession or other public assemblage or within the campus or precincts of any educational institution.”
“The licence for firearms is issued only for limited purposes. No person has a fundamental right to hold firearms. The State has absolute right to regulate acquisition and use of arms by laying down the norms," it said.