The Fact of the Case
In the case of Adv Shiv Kumar vs Union of India and Ors an argument made by attorney Shiv Kumar against a decision made by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi that denied his request for a licence to own a firearm. He argued that if none of the grounds under Section 14 Refusal of Licences of the Arms Act is established, the arms licence would have to be issued. He did this by citing two judgements, one from the Gujarat High Court in Devshibhai Raydebhai Gadher v. State of Gujarat and the other from the Delhi High Court in Vinod Kumar v. State.
According to Justice Pratibha M. Singh of the Delhi High Court’s single bench, no attorney representing the accused or the prosecution in a criminal case may assert the right to possess a handgun licence. The bench ruled that the issue of arms licences might be done arbitrarily if every criminal lawyer claimed the right to possess a licence.
The licencing body has the power to give or deny such a licence depending on the facts of each case, the court noted, noting that an arms licence is a creature of the statute. Because doing so could lead to the awarding of arms licences without consideration, all attorneys and advocates who are participating in criminal cases on behalf of the accused or the prosecution are not permitted to assert a right to acquire an arms licence. The bench argued that the orders made by both the licencing authority and the appellate authority demonstrated that the petitioner’s numerous facts were properly and fully taken into account.
It also noted that if the petitioner’s argument for the need for the weapons license—that the State was seen as having weaknesses—were adopted, the right to own a gun would be recognised. The Court emphasised that this recognition, which could result in the issuing of a licence and unrestrained possession of firearms, could endanger the safety and security of other citizens.
The Court observed that the licencing body must evaluate the perceived threat and the justifications provided by the concerned applicant for the licence request. In light of this, it was said that a request for an arms licence made by an advocate only based on appearing on behalf of the accused would not be sufficient. The Court thus rejected the argument and found that the contested decree did not call for interference.