Mumbai: When a citizen files an application for grant of licence to possess fire arms as he or she perceives a threat to life, it should not be treated in a casual manner, the Bombay High Court has observed.
A division bench of Justices AS Oka and CV Bhadang was last week hearing a petition filed by businessman Avinash Sonawane challenging an order passed by the state Minister of Home (Appellant Authority) dismissing his application for licence to possess firearms. Sonawane had approached the appellant authority after the Licencing Authority rejected his application on 14 July 2015.
Sonwane had claimed threat to his life as a ground while seeking licence to possess a firearm. While the Licensing Authority recorded in its order that the income tax returns produced by Sonwane did not show that he has a very large business, the Appellant Authority dismissed his application on the ground that he has not been able to show beyond reasonable doubt that there is a threat to his life.
The court, however, quashed and set aside both the orders and said it shows "complete non-application of mind".
"An occasion for making application for possessing a firearm arises when a citizen is of the view that there is a threat to his life. Surely when a citizen makes an application contending that there is a threat to his life, the same cannot be treated casually in the manner in which the same has been done in the present case by the Licensing Authority," the court said.
"The Appellate Authority before passing order ought to have called for the papers and if necessary can call for a fresh report from the concerned local police station or concerned police officer on the threat perception to the appellant before it," the court said. The bench has directed the Appellant Authority to hear and decide the petitioner's case afresh and pass its order by 29 February.