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Mere possession of bullet not enough for Arms Act case: Bombay HC

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milind
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 11:43 am

Mere possession of bullet not enough for Arms Act case: Bombay HC

Postby milind » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:47 pm

Today 31 July 2018, Times of India
Mere possession of bullet not enough for Arms Act case: Bombay HC

MUMBAI: Mere possession of a live cartridge, bullet or arms is not enough for it to be an offence under the Arms Act, it has to be a “conscious possession”, the Bombay high court said while quashing a case against an engineer caught at the city airport with a cartridge in bag.

The HC bench of Justices R M Savant and Revati Mohite-Dere earlier this month allowed a plea by Siddharth Singh (34), an electronic engineer working in Pune, to quash a criminal case filed against him under the Arms Act. He was booked in August 2013 when a cartridge was found in his baggage during a security check at Mumbai International airport when he was set to take off to New York on a business trip. He said the bag belonged to his father who held a valid gun licence issued in Kanpur and the lone cartridge was left there accidentally. But Sahar police registered a case under section 3 and 25 of the Arms Act for unauthorised possession of firearm or ammunition. The offence attracts a punishment of minimum one year and maximum three years in prison and fine. The police filed a chargesheet in the case and the case was set for trial.

Singh applied for and got bail. In 2016 he approached the HC to have the prosecution set aside as he said there was no offence since he was unaware that his bag contained a live cartridge and he had no criminal antecedents. His father had a licence since 1984 and had sold his licensed revolver in 2011. The ingredients of the crime were “conspicuously absent’’ argued his lawyer pointing to orders where in similar cases, the HC had set aside criminal proceedings.
The bench observed that the “underlying principle’’ laid down then is that “mere possession of the fire arm or ammunition would not constitute an offence under Section 3 and 25 of the Arms Act and that the essential ingredient is the knowledge of possession or power or control over the arm or ammunition when not in actual possession.’’ There have been several cases where a stray bullet or live cartridges have been found in air passengers bags at security checks at airports in Mumbai, ensuring their trip ends at a police station. In the last few years, the high court has come to similar aid of others facing criminal charges under the Arms Act.
The bench observed that the “underlying principle’’ is that “mere possession of the fire arm or ammunition would not constitute an offence under Section 3 and 35 of the Arms Act and that the essential ingredient is the knowledge of possession or power or control over the arm or ammunition when not in actual possession.’’ Singh cannot be said to have consciously possessed the cartridge said the HC. Neither has any unlicensed fire arm or weapon been recovered, the HC observed, quashing the case against him.

Singh applied for and got bail. In 2016 he approached the HC to have the prosecution set aside as he said there was no offence since he was unaware that his bag contained a live cartridge and he had no criminal antecedents. His father had a licence since 1984 and had sold his licensed revolver in 2011. The ingredients of the crime were “conspicuously absent’’ argued his lawyer pointing to orders where in similar cases, the HC had set aside criminal proceedings.
The bench observed that the “underlying principle’’ laid down then is that “mere possession of the fire arm or ammunition would not constitute an offence under Section 3 and 25 of the Arms Act and that the essential ingredient is the knowledge of possession or power or control over the arm or ammunition when not in actual possession.’’ There have been several cases where a stray bullet or live cartridges have been found in air passengers bags at security checks at airports in Mumbai, ensuring their trip ends at a police station. In the last few years, the high court has come to similar aid of others facing criminal charges under the Arms Act.
The bench observed that the “underlying principle’’ is that “mere possession of the fire arm or ammunition would not constitute an offence under Section 3 and 35 of the Arms Act and that the essential ingredient is the knowledge of possession or power or control over the arm or ammunition when not in actual possession.’’ Singh cannot be said to have consciously possessed the cartridge said the HC. Neither has any unlicensed fire arm or weapon been recovered, the HC observed, quashing the case against him.

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Posting this information for the awareness of all. It might be helpful to someone just in case.

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Milind
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Shivaji.Dasgupta
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:40 am

Re: Mere possession of bullet not enough for Arms Act case: Bombay HC

Postby Shivaji.Dasgupta » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:37 pm

All my respects to the Honorable Justice and the court. At least they are wise enough to understand that with one cartridge and without any weapon no one will go out for a crime.



sa_ali
Posts: 909
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:50 pm

Re: Mere possession of bullet not enough for Arms Act case: Bombay HC

Postby sa_ali » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:09 pm

I am sure this judgement will help a lot of ppl as there have been sudden surge of people getting held with live ammo on International airport, while leaving the country. Lot of time it was attributed to personal enmities.




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