Delhi High Court on  exemptions Arms Act,1959

Single bench of Justice Yashwant Varma of Delhi High Court held that any members of rifles’ associations or clubs is not allowed to hold more than two firearms claiming exemptions under Section 3(2) of Arms Act of 1959.

Further the bench had stated that on temporary basis the holding of number of arms is reduced to two from three. In the present case the petitioner is a life member of National and state rifles associations and has firearm license. He acquired a point 22 bore target pistol in addition to the point 22 Rifle and point 32 revolver, already endorsed on his license.

Earlier under section 3 of the Act, it was allowed for a person to hold three firearms but after the 2019 amendment of the Act, that number had been reduced to 2 per person. The petitioner had referred to section 3(3) of the Act where the member of Associations and Clubs are exempted from provisions of Section 3(2) of the Arms act of 1959 and also the petitioner referred to the  notification issued by the Central Government was also referred by the petitioner which granted exemption to various categories of sports persons engaged in shooting, enabling them to hold more than two weapons.

The court, held that while a person may be a member of a Rifles’ association or club, his individual right to bear or possess firearm was still controlled by the provisions of the Act and that the petitioner could not be construed for giving special status to him.

The court stated that the rule only dealt with the quantity of firearms that may be possessed by different categories of sportspersons and sports organisations. The court finally stated that allowing members of a club to hold arms without a limit would make the member at par with a dealer of firearms and rifle associations and clubs. That cannot possibly be construed as being the intent of Section 3(2).

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