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Celebratory firing: PIL in HC over strict norms for arms licence

With several lives being lost in in incidents of ‘celebratory firing’, a PIL seeking tougher norms for acquiring of arms licence by individuals on Thursday led the Delhi High Court to seek the response of the Centre.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking its reply by January 16 next year, the next date of hearing.

The plea was moved by NGO, Fights For Human Rights, which alleged that while issuing license for arms under the Arms Act, officials of the licensing authority do not check the antecedents of the applicants, as a result of which licenses are granted even to anti-social elements and terrorists.

The NGO, in its public interest litigation filed through advocate K R Chitra, has said such license owners also include those with criminal background and illegal arms dealers.

The plea also contended that acts of celebratory firing at weddings and other functions was an “obnoxious practice” which “causes terror” among the general public.

“In India, there are many instances of misuse of firearms on occasions like marriages, celebration of success in elections etc. Due to misuse of fire-arm, lot of mishappenings take place resulting in loss of precious life and property,” the PIL said, adding there was urgent need to regulate the use of firearms for purposes for which the licences are issued.

In its plea, the NGO has sought directions to the MHA to “frame stringent policy/rules/guidelines to curb obnoxious practice of celebratory firing.”
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