Thursday, 17 September 2020

Whether the court can hold accused guilty for the offence under Arms Act if he had a country-made pistol, not in working condition?

  The next the question to be addressed is whether the appellant’s

conviction under Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act is maintainable.

It was contended on behalf of the appellant that the country made

pistol (katta) was in a state of disrepair and therefore, could not be used as a weapon. It was argued that in view of the same, the country made pistol could not be considered as a firearm and therefore, neither the offence under Section 25 nor the offence under Section 27 of the Arms Act was established.

23. The country made pistol (katta) recovered from the appellant

was sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). The FSL report

has been brought in evidence. The said report indicates that the

country made pistol is of 315 bore, which was designed to fire a

standard eight MM/.315 cartridge. It is also reported that a cartridge

recovered is a live one and could be fired through .315 bore firearm.

The said report (Ex.PW9/A) expressly records that the country made pistol recovered is a firearm and the cartridge is ammunition as designed under the Arms Act.


24. Sh. Puneet Puri, SSO (Ballistics), FSL was examined as PW9.

He had testified that the country made pistol was not in working order and required repair to bring it into working condition.

25. The contention that the country made pistol (katta) recovered

from the appellant is not a firearm, is unmerited. 

26. Undeniably, the country made pistol (katta) recovered from the appellant was designed to discharge a projectile and therefore, even though it may have fallen into disrepair it, nonetheless, falls within the definition of a ‘firearm’ within the meaning under Section 2(e) of the Arms Act.

27. It is also relevant to refer to Section 45 of the Arms Act, which

contains exclusionary clauses and inter alia, specifies that the Arms

Act would not apply to certain arms and ammunition in the given

circumstances. Clause (c) of Section 45 of the Arms Act is relevant and expressly provides that nothing in the Arms Act would apply to “any weapon of an obsolete pattern or of antiquarian value or in disrepair which is not capable of being used as a firearm either with or without repair”. Thus, a firearm, which is capable of being used as such with certain repairs is clearly not excluded from the scope of the Arms Act by virtue of Section 45(c) of the said Act.

28. In addition, a live cartridge was also recovered from the

appellant. A live cartridge falls within the definition of ‘ammunition’

as set out in Clause (b) of Section 2 of the Arms Act. Possession of

ammunition is a punishable offence under Section 25 of the Arms Act.

The use of such ammunition is punishable under Section 27 of the

Arms Act. Thus, there is little doubt that the appellant is guilty of

committing an offence punishable under Sections 25 and 27 of the

Arms Act.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

 Judgment delivered on: 15.09.2020

 CRL. A. 807/2017

SONU @ RAJA  Vs STATE 

CORAM

HON’BLE MR JUSTICE VIBHU BAKHRU

Dated: 15-9- 2020.

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