The Delhi High Court has quashed an FIR registered against an engineering student under Arms Act after he was found boarding a flight to Ahmedabad with twenty live cartridges (Adhiraj Singh Yadav vs State).
A single-judge bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru ruled that unconscious possession would not attract the rigours of Arms Act.
In the present case, the petitioner was travelling to Ahmedabad to appear in the interview process for recruitment to the Air Force.
The petitioner stated that he had borrowed the luggage from the wife of his landlord.
It was claimed that the landlord held a valid arms licence and was not aware of the fact that ammunition was kept in the sleeves of the luggage bag.
The petitioner added that he was in a hurry and packed his belongings oblivious to the existence of live ammunition in the baggage.
Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Gunwant Lal v. State, the Court recorded that the possession of a firearm under the Arms Act must have the element of consciousness or knowledge of the same.
In this regard, reliance was placed on the Supreme Court decision in Sanjay Dutt vs State.
“In the context of the word ‘possession’ must mean possession with requisite mental element, that is, conscious possession and not mere custody without the awareness of the nature of such possession. There is a mental element in the concept of possession,” the Court added.
The Court thus concluded that it was settled law that an offence under Section 25 of the Arms Act would not be made out in cases where the suspect was not conscious that he was in possession of live ammunition.
Considering that the State also submitted that there was no material to doubt the explanation provided by the petitioner, the Court considered it apposite to allow the petition.
To meet the ends of justice, FIR against the petitioner was quashed.
Advocate Kumar Piyush Pushkar appeared for the petitioner.
State was represented by Additional Standing Counsel, Rajesh Mahajan.