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Section 17 – The Arms Act, 1959

The Arms Act, 1959



17. Variation, suspension and revocation of licences –



(1) The licensing authority may very the conditions subject to which a licence has been granted except such of them as have been prescribed and may for that purpose require the licence holder by notice in writing to deliver-up the licence to it within such time as may be specified in the notice.


(2) The licensing authority may, on the application of the holder of a licence, also vary the conditions of the licence except such of them as have been prescribed.


(3) The licensing authority may by order in writing suspend a licence for such periods it thinks fit or revoke a licence –


(a) if the licensing authority is satisfied that the holder of the licence is prohibited by this Act or by any other law for the time being in force, from acquiring, having in his possession or carrying any arms or ammunition, or is of unsound mind, or is for any reason unfit for a licence under this Act; or


(b) if the licensing authority deems it necessary for the security of the public peace or for public safety to suspend or revoke the licence; or


(c) if the licence was obtained by the suppression of material information or on the basis of wrong information provided by the holder of the licence or any other person on his behalf at the time of applying for it; or


(d) if any of the conditions of the licence has been contravened; or


(e) if the holder of the licence has failed to comply with a notice under sub-section (1) requiring him to deliver-up the licence.


(4) The licensing authority may also revoke a licence on the application of the holder thereof.


(5) Where the licensing authority makes an order varying a licence under sub-section (1) or an order suspending or revoking a licence under sub-section (3), it shall record in writing the reasons therefor and furnish tot he holder of the licence on demand a brief statement of the same unless in any case the licensing authority is of the opinion that it will not be in the public interest to furnish such statement.


(6) The authority to whom the licensing authority is subordinate may by order in writing suspend for revoke a licence on any ground on which it may be suspended or revoked by the licensing authority; and the foregoing provisions of this section shall, as far as may be, apply in relation to the suspension or revocation of a licence by such authority.


(7) A court conviction the holder of a licence of any offence under this Act or the rules made there under may also suspend or revoke the licence :

Provided that if the conviction is set aside on appeal or otherwise, the suspension or revocation shall become void.


(8) An order of suspension or revocation under sub-section (7) may also be made by an appellate court or by the High Court when exercising its powers of revision.


(9) The Central Government may, by order in the Official Gazette, suspend or revoke or direct any licensing authority to suspend or revoke all or any licences granted under this Act throughout India or any part thereof.


(10) On the suspension or revocation of a licence under this section the holder thereof shall without delay surrender the licence to the authority by whom it has been suspended or revoked or to such other authority as may be specified in this behalf in the order of suspension or revocation.




(i) A licence holder must be given an opportunity of hearing before revocation/suspension of his/her licence. If due to some unavoidable reasons, revocation/ suspension of the arms licence is ordered, it is an obligation on the part of the licencing authority [as u/s2 (f) ] to allow a post-decisional hearing [Kailash Nath v. State of U.P.; AIR 1985 All. 291 (297, 300)].


(ii) However, if it becomes quite apparent to the licensing authority that the possession of arms by the licencee is going to disturb or endanger ‘public peace & safety’, it can straightway and without any further enquiry, revok/suspend such licence. But if the danger is not ‘apparently immediate’ and the licensing authority proceed for further enquiry into the full facts, then it can’t done unless & until, the licensing authority is completely satisfied with its enquiry [Chhanga Prasad Sahu v. State of U.P. & Ors ; AIR . 142 (149)].


(iii) One of the reasons inviting suspension/ revocation of the arms licence can be like, getting proceeded against in a criminal/capital offence [Kapildeo Singh v. State of Bihar.


(iv) The power & jurisdiction of the licensing authority to initiate cancellation of licence’ proceedings, has been vested with the A.D.M. [Lakhan Singh v. Commissioner, Jhansi Div; Jhansi & Ors; AIR 1984 All. 122 (123)].


(v) Before passing an order in writing, the licensing authority must duly record the necessary reasons and if not against the’ public interest’, shall disclose to the licence holder on demand, all such reasons [Anil Kumar Bhunia etc., Petitioners v. UOI & Ors; Respondents; AIR 1982 NOC 198 (Cal.)].


(vi) Suspension/cancellation /revocation of the arms licence shall/can not be retrospective. It should be perspective only [Anil Kumar Bhunia etc., Petitioners v. UOI & Ors. Respondents., AIR 1982 NOC 198 (Cal).]. (vii) Any authority inferior and / or subordinate to such authority which grants the arms licence can not suspend/cancel or revoke it, for if it does so, it will be improper & invalid and against the tenets of law [Anil Kumar Bhunia etc., Petitioner v. U.O.I. & Ors., Respondent; AIR 1982 NOC 198 (Cal).)






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The Arms Act, 1959


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