Amendment of provisions under Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959 approved
The Union Cabinet today approved the amendment of provisions under Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959 for (i) specifying a period of sixty days for the purpose of police report required under sub-section (2) of section 13 of the Act and (ii) deletion of proviso to sub-section (2A) of section 13 of the Act. The Cabinet also approved the introduction of the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2010 in the Parliament.
The proposed amendments will obviate chances of issuing arms licences to persons whose antecedents are not bonafide, and ensure receipt of police verification report within a period of sixty days. The licensing authority will be obliged to take into consideration the report of the police authorities before grant of an arms licence in each case, with the deletion of the proviso to Section 13 (2A) of the Arms Act, 1959.
Under Section 3 of the Arms Act, 1959, it is essential to obtain an arms possession licence issued by a competent licensing authority by any person for acquisition, possession or carrying any firearms or ammunition.
Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959 contains provisions relating to grant of arms licences by the licensing authority concerned. On receipt of an application, the licensing authority is required to call for a report from the officer in-charge of the nearest police station and such officer is required to send his report about the bonafide of the antecedent of the applicant to the licensing authority, within the prescribed time. The licensing authority is required to take a decision whether to grant or to refuse to grant the arms possession licence, based on the report of the police authorities and subject to fulfilment of other conditions stipulated under the Arms Act. However, there is a proviso to Section 13 (2A), which empowers the licensing authority to grant an arms licence where the report of the police authorities has not been received within the prescribed time.
The quantum of prescribed time referred to in Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959 has not been specifically defined under the said Act. This being so, the chances of invoking proviso may be easy, which may lead to grant of an arms licence to a person whose antecedents, may not be clear.
Considering the importance of the police verification report in the grant of arms licences to any person, it has been decided to delete the proviso to Section 13 (2A) of the Arms Act, 1959 and prescribe a period of 60 days for the police authorities to send their report, to obviate chances of discretion being used by the licensing authority to issue any arms licence without police verification report.